Going Back To College

I am 48 years old and have spent most of my life taking care of others. Now I want to do something for myself, namely return to college. Do you have any suggestions?
— D. Grandy, Silver Spring, MD

I would recommend first deciding on the course of study. A continuing education program might be a good fit since it is geared toward adult collegians.

When looking at colleges, call the registration office and ask which documents are required with the application such as transcripts, essays, and recommendation letters. Next, call the financial aid office to discuss how to pay for college.

In addition, ask your employer if it sponsors programs for college students. For example, there may be a tuition reimbursement or scholarship program available. You’ll need a concrete plan that involves what courses to take, how long until completion, and the kind of aid you’ll need.

Since you’ve been the support system for your family, you’ll have to let them know that you may not be there for them as often. In fact, you’ll need their love and support to embark on this venture successfully. For more information, log on to www.furtheryouredu cation.com, a free Website sponsored by American Education Services. Also read Going Back to School: College Survival Strategies for Adult Students (ARCO; $14.95) and our “Top 50 Colleges for African Americans” (September 2006).