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College Checklist: What to Do before Committing to a School

You already knew that college would be difficult,especially if you are working full-time. But did anyone ever tell you how hard it would be to make a decision about which college to attend? Once you’ve chosen which schools you would be interested in attending, you have a big choice to make: which of these schools is right for you?

This is a big decision and, not to add any unnecessary anxiety for those about to add college to their full-time work schedule, one that will have a direct impact on your career. Making a hasty decision based on anything but your degree and career goals is dangerous – it’s best to think logically about your options and practically come to determine which college you’ll attend. Be sure to take these four steps before committing to a school.

1. Visit the campus or have a Web meeting. Can you see yourself here for the next couple of years? You can sign up for a campus walking tour or take a look around by yourself. You can also get in touch with online enrollment advisers to have a meeting about the college . Going from the workforce to college student is a huge transition, so make sure you ease the tension by choosing the right school.

2. Check the course of study list. If you have an idea of what you’d like to continue your education in (and you should at least be familiar with your academic interests), be sure to check in with an adviser or the college’s online program directory to see if they offer your field as a course of study. If they don’t, do they have a similar program that will fit instead? For example, say you want to further your degree in public relations, but the school doesn’t offer that. Do they have communications courses that includes coursework in PR, or maybe offer PR as a concentration? This happens in many cases with many different fields. Conduct a thorough background check of both majors and minors to be sure you can find a program that will help you get further in your current career or find a new career.

3. Explore the cost of tuition and financial aid options. You can make an appointment to speak to a financial aid adviser during your search, either in person if there is a campus or online. What percentage of working students receive financial aid, and how much? What sort of scholarship programs does the school offer; can you identify any you would be eligible for? It can be expected to rack up a certain amount of debt as a college student, but there are plenty of ways to limit or, in certain cases, even eliminate it. Don’t forget to speak with your current employer about covering all or a portion of your tuition. If they offer it, make sure they are aware of the college you will be attending and the cost of tuition.

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