Deciding to return to college at any stage of your life, whether in your twenties or your fifties, is a major life event that can often feel overwhelming. No matter the path you take, it’s important that you feel empowered and remain focused as you pursue your degree. Let’s review some tips that can help make your life easier as you work toward matriculation.
Keep an eye on your goals
When completing a degree, it can be beneficial to get clear on your goals early on. Do you want to graduate in four years, take your time, or finish as quickly as possible? Do you want to avoid student debt? Are you only interested in attending your dream school or being accepted into a specific program? Focus on what matters most to you and what seems feasible given your unique obligations and circumstances, including family, work, and finances.
Have a plan
You may have a clear idea of where you want to end up but feel less certain about the steps you’ll take to get there. Having a plan when returning to college as a nontraditional student can help ease your transition back to school and simplify your life throughout the process. This can include practical considerations such as childcare and healthcare, as well as financial considerations. How will you finance your education? In addition to loans and savings, it might benefit nontraditional students to explore other sources of funding they have access to. For example, if you have a permanent life insurance policy, like whole life insurance, taking a life insurance loan out against the policy’s cash value could help you cover the costs of school.
Allow yourself flexibility as you embark on your academic journey. Life will continue to happen around you, so programs that give you time and space when you need it—even if that means sitting out a semester or two—can be essential to staying on course. Bumps in the road are inevitable, but they don’t have to stop you in your tracks.
Tap into your support system
Give yourself permission to tap into the resources your college, university, or program offers, including advisors and professors. Don’t be afraid to lean on those around you, whether they be family members, friends, or fellow students. A strong support system can help you navigate your return to school and motivate you to achieve your goals.
Communication is key
Communicating and working with others is essential to your success as a nontraditional student. Seek out interactions with the students around you to help supplement your learning; develop a rapport with your professors, instructors, and advisors; and speak often with your friends and family members about your goals, challenges, and experiences. Advocating for yourself and asking for help when you need it will help you to get the most out of your class, course, or program.
The primary purpose of permanent life insurance is to provide a death benefit. Using permanent life insurance accumulated value to supplement retirement income will reduce the death benefit and may affect other aspects of the policy.
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