It's too hard! I don’t think I can do it...

School is challenging. There will probably be moments when you think it's "too hard." That's how you know you're on the right track. Think about it this way: Your education will create the foundation for your future career. Don’t you want that foundation to be strong and something you put a lot of effort into? You're going to have classmates and teachers to help you get through those times. And, most schools have mentorship and tutoring programs. Use 'em!

I have no idea what I want to do yet.

Many people start school not knowing what they want to do. Others think they know, but end up changing halfway through, without adding cost or time to their experience. You're probably going to need some general education classes anyway. In that time, your interests could show you a path toward something that inspires you.

Nobody in my family went to school. Why should I?

It is an achievement to be the first in your family to get a college degree. Think how proud your family and friends will be of you for making this decision. There was once a time when a high school degree was all you needed the job you are looking for, but those days are over. By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school.*  There are more people with degrees in the job market than ever. You want to be in that pool.

 

*According to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute

I’m too old.

More than 3 million higher education students are over the age of 35, and nearly 10 million are over the age of 22.* Think about how many working years you have left in your lifetime - there’s no time like today to change that path.

 

*According to the National Center for Education Statistics

I won’t fit in.

One of the biggest fears of going to school or going back to school is the anxiety of not fitting in with the other students. Try to think of college as an opportunity to meet new people to share your experiences with. If you are an adult returning to school, you have life experience that will help you tremendously. Decide what you like, become involved and seek out a professor or counselor to mentor you.. This will help you meet friends with the same values and aspirations.

School won’t fit into my schedule.

Many people  work school around their already hectic daily lives. 70 percent to 80 percent of college students – are both active in the labor market and formally enrolled in some form of postsecondary education or training.* There are programs for every schedule. You can go to class at night, on weekends or even one day a week. If you go for a degree online, you can be in class anytime. Set up a specific time for studying. Work out a system for keeping a calendar and organizing course materials, and ask your family and friends help you. With a support network, you'll get there.

I’m afraid I’ll fail.

Go to class. Pay attention. Do your best. Complete your assignments on time. Ask questions. And, no matter how difficult it may get, don’t quit. If you fail something or flunk a test, you can take it again. Find a tutor or teacher to help in the subjects that are difficult for you. We all fail at times, but the ones who stick it out win in the end. Your friends, your family, your teachers, your counselors - they all want you to excel. Lean on these people when it gets hard and they will help you.

I’m not smart enough.

You go to school to learn. Nobody's an expert when they arrive. As long as you are ready and willing to learn, you are smart enough. Find a career path that excites you and you are passionate about - that’s when learning stops being hard and starts being fun.

There are so many financial aid options, I don’t know where to start.

Here’s where to start: FAFSA. It stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid” and you can find them here: www.fafsa.ed.gov It can be confusing, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from a counselor, family, friend or an admissions office. A FAFSA will help you increase the amount of aid you can receive from federal, state and institutional sources. It looks scary at first, but don't be intimidated. Filling out a FAFSA may be the key to becoming a student.

Getting financial aid takes a lot of work, like filling out confusing forms and keeping up with paperwork. I’ll mess it up.

It’s important to know how much your degree is going to cost you. On our site, you can view costs and starting salaries of hundreds of programs to understand how much financial aid you’ll need to complete the program you’re interested in. Once you know the financial impact, every school has financial aid counselors whose jobs are to make it easier for you. They’ll help you fill out the forms you need and gather the right documents. You don’t have to do it alone.