If you’ve ever thought about going to college, there’s no time like the present to explore your options.
There will always be excuses, most of them valid, and it may take some significant planning to re-arrange your priorities and your routine. There is a right time for everything, but it doesn’t hurt to do a little research and find out what your options might be, even if you know you won’t be attending for another year or five.
I’m the first to agree that the easiest time to go to college is straight out of high school, when financial aid is often at its most accessible, and before the pressures of families and careers have really taken hold. The fact of the matter though is that there are no “traditional” college students these days. College students come in all ages, colors, shapes and sizes, with backgrounds as diverse as can be imagined.
As a former university administrator, I’ve seen retired people well into their “golden years” learning for the sake of learning. I’ve seen mothers apply to college at the same time as their daughters. I can’t count the number of mid-career professionals I’ve seen who have used education as a stepping stone to an entirely new career, figuring out at 45 “what they want to be when they grow up.”
The academic models available today are as diverse as the students themselves. There are fields of study in every topic with options that range from day classes, night classes, weekend programs, self-paced learning, and distance education opportunities. Some students are fulfilled simply auditing an occasional art class, or taking courses to learn another language at their local community college, while others are determined to complete their Ph.D.
There’s no one right educational model, but if you have ever toyed with the idea of taking classes or pursuing a degree, I suggest that you send away today for some information on programs that might interest you. Talk to an admission representative at a school near you or perhaps consider distance education options. Ultimately, you may regret putting it off indefinitely, but I doubt that you will ever regret pursuing an education.
I was very fortunate as a child that my parents saw to it that I was going to college. From the time I was five, they started saving money for my college education, and every so often would drive me around different campuses so I could picture in my mind what going to college was like. I also
lived next to Lafayette College, and dropped in on the campus as a little girl selling Girl Scout cookies!
Even when I was in junior high school my mother urged me to take practice SAT exams– she bought me books and showed me how to do it, so when the time came to take college entrance exams, I felt fairly prepared. I used to read a lot as a child, and developed a broad vocabulary which came in handy on tests. However, my math scores were not quite as good, and I never went into the sciences, as I had hoped.
When I was in high school, my parents took me to many schools, and we narrowed my preferences down to five or six colleges, some of them “fall back” preferences if I didn’t get into my first choice or second choice.
My mother and I carefully went over all the application forms, and made sure I had filled in everything required. I wrote and rewrote my essays until I felt they were right.
Now I am so grateful for all my parents did to prepare me. I got into the college of my choice-Swarthmore College, met the man of my dreams there, and went on to a satisfactory career in college teaching.
I realize that not everyone has parents that can mentor them, but it helps to have as a close confidante someone who has “been there” and can describe how to surmount the hurdles of getting into college. Your article is a great start.
This highly informative post needs bumped to the present in 2020. Don’t know how to, sorry.