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Returning To Education After Dropping Out: Advice & Tips

Dropping out of college is never a simple decision, and there are multiple reasons why students may come to the conclusion that it is their only sensible choice in the moment. Whether it’s struggling with health issues, needing to care for family members, or simply finding the whole college experience too much, every choice to drop out is justified and absolutely valid. 

After awhile, those who have chosen to drop out may begin to consider their future options – and, in particular, whether going back to college might be the right choice for them. If you are currently at the same point, then here’s a look at everything you’ll need to think about in order to ensure a successful return… 

Establish the exact reason you left 

The choices you make from this point will be influenced by the underlying reason you dropped out of your first course, so it’s important to understand exactly why you felt the need to leave. In some cases, this may be fairly simple; if you had health issues, for example. In others, it may be more complex; perhaps you realized that you wanted to move to a more creative career path such as music or writing, or you liked your course but didn’t like the college environment itself. Whatever the reason, it needs to be fixed firmly in your mind as you consider your return.

Consider your options for institutions

If you enjoyed your course and college initially but had to leave for unrelated personal reasons, then it’s worth contacting the college you left – some will allow former students to resume studies without having to go through the formal admissions process. However, if you’re looking to pursue a change of direction, you may need to switch to a new school entirely, asking questions such as “which music schools have Pro Tools Certifications?” or “which colleges offer courses taught by seasoned, published writers?” to help identify the best institution for your new requirements. 

Examine the financial situation 

Funding after dropping out of college can be very tricky, especially if you took out student loans for your first course (which still have to be paid back). You can still take out new federal and private loans for your new course, though do consider options such as scholarships and other forms of financial aid that may be beneficial to you. If you have been working since dropping out, you may also want to consider talking to your employer to see if they are willing to provide financial assistance of some sort. 

Ask yourself questions about your first college experience 

Going to college for the first time is always something of a step into the unknown; it’s only really by living the college experience that you truly know what is involved. However, if you’re returning after dropping out in the past, then going to college is no longer an unknown; you know the realities, so ask yourself: “what did I enjoy the most about college” – so you can do more of the same this time around – and “what did I find most difficult?”, so that you can find solutions for the issues you previously experienced.  

In conclusion

Hopefully the tips above will help you navigate the process of returning to college and ensure that this exciting new phase of your educational journey is as smooth and successful as possible.

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