Going Back To College After Dropping Out


Thousands of students drop out of college every year in the US. But there are several who get back to college after some years.

Getting back to college will bring up memories of dropping out in your earlier years. The associated emotions of dropping out and all the events surrounding it can appear daunting. Once you’ve overcome that hurdle, signing up to a degree completion college such as Excelsior or Thomas Edison can get you started where you left off.

You definitely need a way to leverage your previous courses and learning for college credits, so as to save both time and money toward your US degree completion. Your life and daily schedules have likely changed a lot as well, so you need to be able to study at your own pace.

Dropouts: Getting Back To College

Congrats on your decision to go back to college! You’ve already crossed the most difficult part of sorting out your college worries and taken this bold step forward.

Review Your Current Situation

Before you re-enroll into college, you need to review the where, why, when, what and how of college, as follows:

  • Where are you in your life and career at present? Is college something you can handle at this point in your life? Do you have the right mindset to focus on college with your other responsibilities?

  • Why are you motivated now to complete college and will college have a positive impact on your job situation?

  • Those who are already working in their chosen field will be able to utilize a lot of their knowhow from their work toward their degree. They are also likely to know which majors to choose for bettering their careers.

  • If you’re not currently working, the best way to figure out what degree you should choose is to match things you’ve been very good at in high school with in-demand fields with a lot of job opportunities.

  • Healthcare, business and computer software are fields with good pay and a lot of job opportunities.

  • Are you able to allot your evenings or weekends for college studies? Or does your job allow for longer seasonal holidays when you can spend time studying for college?

  • What is the nature of your work and work timings? If you frequently have work deadlines or if your schedules are unpredictable, you might be better off choosing an online program.

Benefits of Re-entering College

1) Your career prospects will be on an upward trend and you will have the confidence to apply for higher paying jobs soon after college graduation.

2) Your confidence and positive outlook will take a turn for the better once you start knocking off some of those much awaited college credits!

3) Even family and acquaintances who earlier chose to ignore you will now start to admire your dedication toward college. Others who care for you will provide the added support and motivation, while knowing very well that your time away from them is likely being spent on studying for college.

Drawbacks of Re-starting College

Though most people consider college a good thing, there are a few short-term inconveniences to be aware of before you enroll.

1) If you are working, depending on your work situation, you might choose to either share or hide your college intentions from your boss and colleagues. Most companies tend to support college but many of them are not happy to see their employees reducing their work hours to go and do college.

So this is a fine line to cross, so if appropriate, mention the college to your boss but make sure you do not take too much time away from work while you do this.

2) If you have kids and a family, they will need some of your care and attention. You will also have to plan for daycare or after school care for your kids if you will be taking classroom college courses.

3) You will have to cut down on your family time especially when you’re preparing for college tests or exams, so be sure you have your spouse, the kids’ grandparents or other family for such extended periods.

Things to Do or Not Do, When Re-entering College

  • Give careful thought to how you will pay for college and do not take out any student loans for any reason.
  • Choose a college that charges affordable tuition and which accepts credit transfer and other low-cost ways of earning college credits. A degree completion college provides many of the flexible and affordable features adult students require, so please be sure to check them out.
  • Either apply for financial aid or have your employer pay for some of your college, even if you can manage the college costs yourself. When it comes to college and living expenses, costs add up very quickly, so it’s best to be well prepared for sudden expenses.

  • Before even applying to any college, take note of all your previous college courses and grades.

  • To be doubly sure you’re mentally ready for college, complete one or two online courses at perhaps Study.com, or write a couple of CLEP tests successfully. The study.com courses and CLEP tests are eligible for college credits, so you will be able to transfer them in to any college you enroll in.

Dropouts Who Successfully Complete College

Even under the best circumstances, about 40% of students enrolled in a bachelors degree drop out within 6 years. Among these, a small percentage of them re-enter college years later as adult independent students.

Non-traditional adult students face the biggest challenges in completing college, but there are some factors that can greatly increase the odds in their favor:

1) Working professionals in in-demand fields such as business, healthcare or information technology are likely to benefit the most upon completing college. They are also likely to have the higher motivation to rise above all the odds to work toward completing college as an adult student.

2) Employees whose employer pays for college have a much easier time in both paying for college and in having a supportive environment that encourages college. In such companies, there might be many employees in the same office or team studying at the same college which is a win-win for both the employees and the employer.

3) For non-working adult college students, having a supportive family or spouse who pays for college is a great determinant of success. Many couples have been known to support one another through college whereby one of them works while the other completes college and vice-versa.

4) There is one other easy way for adult students to complete college in most fields, with or without employer or spousal support and that is via degree completion colleges. Thousands of adult students at these degree completion colleges have been able to graduate college year upon year ever since the 1970’s.

The main reason for the high success rate at the degree completion colleges is the easy & unlimited credits transfer, lower fees, and many low-cost online & distance sources of college credits such as CLEP and so on.

Academically Dismissed: Back In College

Some colleges may require remedial courses if you were previously dismissed academically. Dismissed academically just means that you had multiple college courses without a passing grade earlier.

The important thing to remember is that having been academically dismissed from college years ago when your situation, age and circumstances were totally different is not a reflection of your academic capabilities today. So just leave that feeling behind.

You can simply start at a new college and just transfer in any courses in which you had better grades. If any questions come up about the dismissal, you can plainly state the circumstances and why there is no reason for it to happen anymore.

Or you can simply choose a college which does not ask such questions but still has a good academic reputation.

Degree completion colleges generally do not ask any questions about previous college degrees. They only ask you to list your previously complete college courses for a transfer of credits.

To be doubly sure you’re prepared for college work, take a few online courses or write some CLEP exams to get in top shape for college learning. Once you’ve done that, simply sign up to a college of your choice or a degree completion college.

If you’ve gained some work experience or other non-accredited learning since you left college, there is a way to do a portfolio assessment of your work experience for college credits at any of the degree completion colleges. This can save you a lot of time and money and give you additional college credits for things you’ve already learnt at work or elsewhere.

Getting Financial Aid Again After Dropping Out

If you used up some of your financial aid before, you should still reapply for financial aid if you’re planning to restart college. There is likely aid monies you’re still eligible for and some states also pay for college tuition which the federal aid may not cover.

Even if you think you have previously used up all your allotted financial aid, its best to reapply to see what you can get. Also talk to the college about your situation before submitting your financial aid application to see what other scholarships you might be eligible for.

If you’re working, check for any employer-sponsored college reimbursement. In this case, you would have to pay for the initial tuition and keep getting reimbursed for the courses one by one as you complete each course.

There are also many free and low cost college courses at Saylor.org and greatly reduced college costs at any of the degree completion colleges. An in-depth comparison of over 17 degree completion colleges and close to 35 affordable credit sources are provided in our eBook.

How Do I Finish College In 2 Years?

When starting college again, the sooner you’re done with the courses, the sooner you will graduate and the lesser money you will have to spend on college. You might also have college courses that you can credit transfer to your new college to save even more time.

In fact, many students at degree completion colleges have even been able to complete college is much lesser time than the 2 years. Here is more detailed information on how to complete a US bachelors degree in 2 years.

How Soon Should A Dropout Re-enter College?

The sooner you start college, the higher are your chances of graduating college. This is because age is an important factor for college studies. There is no better time to focus 99% on college than in your late teens or early twenties when you’re single and still dependent on your parents for accommodation, food, clothing and most importantly, college.

This is an age when you will have very few other responsibilities and you’ll have all the time to study for college.

With increasing age, people move out of their parents’ home, start their own family and so on. All of this brings in the added burden of having to pay one’s own bills, rent and to put food on the table. This can be quite stressful and without a college degree in hand, the minimum pay or salary will not support even the living expenses, let alone college!

If you can get your employer to pay for your college, or spouse’s financial support for college, that’s a great benefit to have. But for a working adult, the younger you are, the more motivated you’re going to be to complete college and to start earning a better salary and grow in your career. So it’s best to atleast finish the 4 year bachelors degree as soon as is possible.

In case you are not working, or if you’re working in a field which you don’t really like, just be sure to choose a college major which you enjoy and which will provide ample well-paying job opportunities upon graduation. The only time to hold off on college is when you’re not sure about which college major to choose. Once that’s sorted out, completing college as early as possible, preferably in your mid-twenties or sooner would be best.

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