Going Back to College After Dropping Out

clean slatePerhaps you got married or started a family. Maybe you didn’t get enough financial aid, or you couldn’t keep up with your schoolwork in addition to job responsibilities. Or perhaps you had a bad semester, you didn’t have clear direction and goals for your education and your career, or you just didn’t feel like college was worth your time and energy.

But your situation has changed. You might be in a better position to devote time to studying, or you might just be more willing to put in the effort so that your education can take you where you want to go in life. Whatever the case may be, going back to college after dropping out is a brave choice, one you won’t regret.

Encouragement for College Dropouts
If you’re planning on going back to college after dropping out, odds are good that you’ll perform better than you did the first time around. College dropouts who go back to school usually have a better idea of what to expect from higher education and more clearly defined outcomes.

And, most professors are happy to have older students in their classrooms, as these students are typically more motivated, serious-minded, and mature. When you go back to school, you bring life experience and knowledge that traditional students simply cannot offer.

How to Go Back to College
So how do you go about returning to college? Here are some important steps to take to get you ready for your back to school endeavor:

  • Request your high school and former college transcripts, which you will likely need when you apply to college the second time around.
  • Once you have been accepted to the college, meet with an academic advisor to find out which of your previous college credits will transfer to the degree you’re currently pursuing.
  • Work with your advisor to map out which classes you need to take, and when you need to take them, in order to fulfill your degree requirements. 
  • Decide whether you’ll go to school full time or part time. You might consider enrolling part time the first semester and then decide if you can handle a full course load for subsequent semesters.

Your College Wants You Back
If you want to return to the college where you started, you might be able to take advantage of special programs designed to help college dropouts succeed. Some schools, such as Rutgers University, offer GPA-forgiveness programs to lure college dropouts back to campus. These academic-forgiveness programs allow returning students to reset their GPA and start over at the same school.

And dropouts from the University of New Mexico, for example, can take advantage of the school’s “Graduation Project,” a program designed to help students who have left the university return and finish their bachelor’s degree. Benefits of the program include a short readmit application; a detailed degree summary to learn exactly what is needed to graduate; priority enrollment in classes needed to complete the degree; and a tuition credit of up to 50 percent.

It’s time to erase “college dropout” from your record and start over with a clean slate. Because it’s never too late to go back to school.

  • http://twitter.com/Khatmandont Katherine Flaherty

    Gina (oh my gosh i kinda hate your parents for that name :/), some might confuse this article with a fluff piece, but from all of us drop-outs who find this article vís-a-vís search engines, thank you. In this economy, education is more important than ever.

  • andy

    As somebody who dropped out of college and then went back I have to say I found it easier the second time around. I’m not done yet, but I will finish this time. Now the first time around I had a 3.5 gpa, and now I have a 3.65. I’ve decided that I want to go for honor’s in my program and go on to graduate school after. I’m also a first generation college student in my family and that does make it a little tougher.

  • http://www.collegebound.net/ CollegeBound Network

    What a great testament to this post. Thanks for sharing, and all the best to you in your endeavor. Sounds like you’re right on track! :)