A Guide Book for Adults Returning to College: Brainstorming and First Steps

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

In this post, we will discuss where you should begin if you’re thinking of returning to school.

Think about why you want to return to school.  Why is it constantly on your mind?  Will earning a degree help you get more out of life or will it help you find the right job?  Decide on what you want to study and begin your research.  What are you good at?  What would you like to do?  Make sure you are returning for the right reasons.  That way your determination will get you through it.  If the time is right for you to return it will be rewarding.

(If you are not interested in earning a degree but want to take classes in your field of interest to develop your profession or are endeavoring in a life-long learning experience, you can take non-degree courses as well.)

Mature female student raising hand in class


There are several colleges and universities offering a continuing education program and nontraditional student programs.  Look into colleges that you are interested in or is convenient for you.  If you are worried that this decision doesn’t fit your lifestyle needs, don’t let that stop you.  Talk to the people in your life, seek their support.  Your family and friends will support your decision.  

After you’ve looked into colleges you are interested in, try to attend their information sessions, or visit the admissions office and ask questions.  It may take some time to gather all the records you will need.

You’ll need to access old test scores, transcripts, immunization records and recommendations letters.


  •  Transcripts and old test scores should be sent directly from your previous college to your college of choice.  (Unless you apply to return to the same college you dropped out of)
  •  If it’s been more than eight years, your SAT scores may no longer be acceptable. You may have to take the entrance exam.
  •  You may need to access your old high school transcripts or GED test results.  Have them sent directly to the college you are applying to.
  •  You’ll need to submit your immunization records once admitted.
  •   It is recommended that you apply for financial aid at the same time.
  •   Don’t let these steps scare you.  Take care of it.
  •   Once you get it done, you’ll feel better.

Write your college essays, gather two recommendation letters from colleagues and send out your applications.  Remember that most colleges and universities are always looking to expand the campus diversity.  Some professors enjoy having the perspective of older students in the classroom.  Keep this in mind.



By Rona Ramjas

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