There's a four-letter word keeping you from going back to college, and it begins with F.
Maybe you're afraid that you are "too old" or that you'll be embarrassed to take classes with people young enough to be your children.
Maybe you’re worried about having enough time or money to complete your degree.
Maybe you’re interested in online classes but are anxious about the technology involved.
These are all valid concerns, and they are very common among former college students. But never fear, UNCG Online is here to help you navigate the road to finishing your degree.
45 is the new 20
Think you’re too old to go back to college? Think again. Whether you are 25, 35, or 65, your maturity will work in your favor. You were a college student once. Remember what freshman year was like? How often did you put off writing a paper until the night before it was due? There are some advantages to being a little older – you don’t have the distractions that many undergrads have and you are motivated to be serious about your courses. This puts you ahead of the pack right from the start.
Worried about having such youthful classmates? Again, go back to your freshman year. Were you focused on guessing the age of every student in your class? I didn’t think so. And if you’re going back to college online, other students don’t even have to know whether you’re a Millennial, a Gen Xer, or a Baby Boomer, so there’s nothing to feel self-conscious about.
Making the Time
When I was in college, those of us who had the glamorous dining hall jobs were required to work every other weekend. At first, this was alarming. How would we ever get our studying done if we had to WORK? But then we started to see a curious trend: We got more homework done, more papers written, and more projects completed on the weekends when we had to work. When we had less time available, we managed it better.
As an adult student, you’ll have more on your plate than a part-time job, but the same principle applies: If you manage your time, you can get more done. You may have to get creative – studying on your lunch hour, for example – but you’ll be amazed at the pockets of time you can find when you look.
But what about family obligations, you ask? Good question. If you have young children or older parents (or both), finding time can be tricky. Your best bet is to be honest with your family – and yourself – about the help you will need to return to college. Chances are, they’ll be proud of your efforts and want to support you. And the good news is, many online courses offer the flexibility to study when it’s most convenient for you, so you can pick the times that work best for your family.
Finding the Money
When it comes to costs, there are other benefits to studying online: No commute. No parking permits. No room and board fees. The savings add up quickly.
You may also find that tuition costs are lower for online students. (You can compare the costs of online and face-to-face courses at UNCG here.) And it’s important to note that online students are eligible for financial aid, so be sure to check out all your options.
Trying out Technology
If you’ve been out of college for some time, you may be intimidated at the thought of taking your courses online. What equipment do I need? Is my Internet connection fast enough? Rest assured, even the most tech-savvy students have questions from time to time. UNCG has created a website called Ready to Learn to walk online students through the requirements step-by-step. Spend some time on the site to get comfortable with the technical side of online study.
Taking the First Step
As FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” So take a deep breath, think about what programs you’d like to study, and start researching the colleges that offer them. As you embark on the next phase of your college career, let your fears be a thing of the past – and let your degree be a part of your future.