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Six Tips for Adult Learners Entering College

Six Tips for Adult Learners Entering College

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Start a degree program at American Public University.

By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

You are never too old to go back to school. Unlike teenage high school students, however, college students range in age from teenagers to octogenarians.

In fact, students 25 years of age and older accounted for roughly 40 percent of all college and graduate students in 2009, according to a report on NBC News. That figure is expected to rise to 43 percent by 2020 as 9.6 million older students head to campus.

It’s never too late to enroll in an institute of higher learning and earn a college degree. In fact, most students attending an online university like APU and AMU are adult learners who want to complete an unfinished education, gain new knowledge and skills for the next step in their career journey, or simply enhance their personal growth.

What Adult Learners Should Know about Entering College

1. If you have not received a high school diploma, get a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. GEDs are an acceptable way to meet the high school equivalency requirement of most schools.

2. If you are employed, ask your HR department about tuition assistance. Many employers offer some tuition assistance to those employees who wish to pursue higher education.

3. Do as much research as possible about Federal Student Aid (FSA) and other types of financial aid. Internet searches are a great way to find available scholarships. Contacting a Financial Aid representative at your school of choice is another great way to accumulate information.

4. If you are going to use FSA, remember to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. You must complete a FAFSA for each award year you want to receive FSA.

5. Pay close attention to deadlines. Your school, the FAFSA and all the scholarship/grant opportunities have deadlines. Some of those deadlines occur well before you actually start attending school, so it is important to plan ahead.

6. Create a strong support group and stay in touch frequently. Your support group could be loved ones, family members, other college students and staff at your school. Having a strong support group will make the challenges of college more manageable.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with being an adult learner. While a lot of students go straight from high school into college, there are plenty of students (especially in online higher education) that enter college during various times of their lives. You are never too old to start pursuing higher education.

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