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Step-By-Step Guide for Adults Planning to Return to College

It may help to use a checklist as you plan for going back to school. These are just a few steps you can take to make the transition.

  1. Consider why you want to return to school: What is your motivation?


  2. Develop a plan to achieve your educational goals based on your interest, skills and commitments.


  3. Review your plan to see how it will fit into your professional and private lives.


  4. Decide on a college or university and a program meeting your career and educational goals (and your current and long-term schedule).


  5. Determine whether you must complete any prerequisites before you can begin your coursework.


  6. Determine the cost of education and identify available sources of funding.


  7. Complete all necessary admissions and financial-aid applications.


  8. Attend an orientation session offered by the school. Seek support groups (for nontraditional students, related to your major, etc.).

Source: Adapted from Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) “Mapping Your Future,” through the US Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education at