Changing careers in today’s economy can often mean returning to college to gain new skills to prepare for the evolving marketplace. Community colleges are often the first place adult career changers turn for assistance.
Increasingly, Spartanburg Community College (SCC) administrators, faculty and staff members are reaching out to returning adult students with reassuring advice for them to comfortably return to the classroom.
“Non-traditional-aged students bring motivation and maturity to the classroom. They are often not afraid to ask questions or seek an instructor’s help,” said Henry C. Giles, Jr., president of Spartanburg Community College. “Coming back to college or attending college for the first time is a big decision that comes with great rewards.” “Students can expect to be pleasantly surprised by experiencing all sorts of new opportunities, challenges, ideas and points of view, and the many resources and individuals ready to help them along their college journey.”
Here are a few tips for adults getting ready to return to the classroom.
1. Consult with advising professionals to review your goals and plan a course of study. Advisors will help you understand if past college credentials and/or work experience can apply toward your goal. Consider the following questions: why do you want to return to college…how will college help you personally, professionally and financially…are you ready…what is your commitment level…are on-campus or online classes best for you?
2. Expect to see students with similar goals in class. You are not alone in considering college after working for several years. Many SCC students are non-traditional (over the age of 25). For all the work that college requires, most of them love it.
3. Scan the employment environment and know your marketability. Capitalize on current areas of need.
4. Doing something you love is equally as important. Selecting something you truly have an interest in and an aptitude for will be intrinsically rewarding.
5. Ensure a good fit. Investigate the requirements for a career choice and see if it fits your interests, abilities and needs. If changing career fields, identify the transferable skills you already possess.
6. Have a support system in place. Identify who you can count on for moral support. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
7. Assess yourself academically. Depending on your length of absence from college and the courses you are about to study, evaluate your skills via placement assessment. Don’t let this stop you. SCC offers classes at all levels.
7. Consider financial aid and explore scholarship opportunities. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available at fafsa.gov. If you need assistance, the SCC Financial Aid office is ready to help. Don’t miss out on valuable opportunities including scholarships, grants and cooperative educational opportunities.
8. Consider online classes. If you are concerned about returning to a traditional classroom environment, or are worried your schedule cannot accommodate going back to school, consider online classes. This flexible learning approach offers advantages for your busy schedule. SCC also offers hybrid classes, which combine the best of in-class and online learning throughout a semester.
9. Realize how much you already know. The prior experience and knowledge you bring as a returning adult student will benefit your college experience and your classmates.
So are you ready to attend college? Contact an SCC recruiter at (864) 592-4122 to discuss your next steps or any concerns you may have.