When he graduated high school, Joshua started taking college classes at his local community college. After all, isn’t that what students are supposed to do after graduation? He did well on some of his introductory classes, but after a while, he started to get nervous. He was signed up for the most generic degree that he could find, and this bothered him. What was he going to do with his degree? What career did he want to pursue? Since he didn’t know the answer to these questions, he started to doubt the wisdom of spending all that money on something he might not use. Soon, he dropped out of college and got a job instead.
Now, a dozen years later, Joshua is in his thirties and considering whether a degree would help his career now. He has worked hard and made his own way, but advancement options are limited. What’s more, he recently got married and has a wife and future kids to think about. Should he get a degree now? Does he even have time to study with all the other commitments in his life?
Here at Pearson Accelerated Pathways, we talk to people like Joshua all the time. If you have a few college credits to your name, but you never finished your degree, you’re not alone. In fact, 37 million Americans have had the same experience. These days, 40% of college students drop out before college graduation!
If you dropped out of college and are starting to wonder if you should go back, we can help. We spoke with two of our Admissions Counselors (who talk with returning students all the time!) to compile this list of four questions you should ask yourself when considering your next move.
1. "Why did I drop out of college?"
Why do so many people decide not to finish college? Many college dropouts report common themes, with financial concerns making the top of the list. Other reasons include being unprepared for the academic challenges of higher education, being derailed by unexpected life events, worrying that they chose the wrong career or degree, not knowing what to study, or thinking that college isn’t worth it.
In response to these roadblocks, many students end up entering the work force and carrying on with their lives, trying their best to compete in a society that still, for the most part, considers a college degree to be essential. Some of them succeed, using their skills and ingenuity to work their way up the career ladder rather than relying on a degree. Thriving without a college degree is certainly possible—and the right decision for some people.
However, for many others, making a living without a degree is extremely difficult. According to Education Data, college dropouts typically make around $21,000 less each year than their peers who graduated. College often remains a far-off goal on the horizon for years. How do you decide if you should take the plunge and go back to finish your degree?
2. "What are the benefits of going back to school?"
To decide if college is right for you, consider how going back to school might help you, your career, and your family. Here are just a few common reasons that adults choose to finish college:
They can't move forward in their career without a degree.
They need to make more money to increase their standard of living. (According to Forbes, "Adults who complete a bachelors degree, on average, earn 57% more than those who are high school graduates.")
They want to change careers, either for more profitability or more job satisfaction.
They want a degree for added credibility.
They want to set a good educational example for their children.
They have raised their children, and now they want to focus on their own education.
If done for the right reasons, a college degree can be extremely profitable and personally rewarding. Would finishing your degree would benefit you? If so, how can you make it happen?
Are you considering re-enrolling in college? Pearson Accelerated Pathways was created to provide flexible, affordable pathways towards a degree. Find out if Accelerated Pathways is the right way to get your degree today.
3. "What's standing in my way?"
If you’ve considered college, but you’re worried about how to fit a degree into your life, you aren’t alone. When I spoke with our Admissions Counselors, Madison Baldridge and Irene Carlson, they mentioned that they talk to hundreds of students thinking about returning to college. They know a few things about the common fears that students have around going back to school. Prospective students often wonder:
"Can I afford college? I don't want to drop out again because of lack of funds."
"Will I have the time to study? I already have a full schedule of responsibilities at work and home."
"How will I be able to study and take care of my kids."
"Will I have to start over?"
Have any of these thoughts crossed your mind? College is definitely hard work, so it’s good that you’ve been seriously considering how obstacles might impact your decision. However, in my conversation with Madison and Irene, they also shared how students are overcoming these fears and making college fit into their lives. Which brings me to the final question you should ask yourself...
4. "How can I make college work for me?"
If you are determined to finish your degree, you have options. Many colleges offer online coursework, night classes, or local two-year degree programs to help students like you return to school.
But here at Accelerated Pathways, we think you deserve more. Our program offers:
Ultimate flexibility with self-paced courses. There are no weekly deadlines, and you can take just one course at a time.
Pay as you go! No need to pay for a whole semester or year at once.
A streamlined digital classroom that saves you money instead of making you pay for extras you don't need. (Credits through Accelerated Pathways are 36% cheaper than traditional college credits.)
And best yet - you can save as many of your old college credits as possible and our team will help you find a place for them in your new degree plan. The work you put in before you dropped out doesn't have to go to waste!
Our courses are all online, so you can study on the go, at home, or wherever you like! Our degree plans are fully-accredited, and every course you take through us is guaranteed to transfer into the school you choose.
When talking with concerned students, Admissions Counselor Madison Baldridge asks them to be honest about how much work they can put in. Can you set aside an hour or two every night? Are your weekdays full, but you can study for hours on the weekends? Whatever your situation, Accelerated Pathways can create a flexible plan that works for you. If you’re nervous, just start with a few courses and see how it goes! Since you can pay as you go, you don’t have to make a huge financial commitment to get started, and you can pause your studies whenever you need a break.
You can make college work for you. Going back to school takes dedication and hard work, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you’d like to learn more about how Accelerated Pathways can help you pursue your degree, schedule some time to talk with our team. Madison, Irene, and the whole Admissions team would love to tell you more about how we can help your college dreams come true.