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In my 30's and thinking about going to college...Where do I start?Community colleges?Help please if you have gone through this

Hi I'm in my 30's and thinking about going back to college within the next year to year and a half.My youngest will start pre school in 2011 so I was going to start then so I don't have to worry about daycare...Anyway basically were do I start.Are community colleges good for a full degree or would I have to transfer to a university? Am I to old for a regular university?I'm not 18 anymore!!Lol...How would I be placed? I have been out of school for a long time..I would probally do awful on a placement test...

I know I want to better myself...I'm just scared and worried and I don't want to let thet keep me back from bettering my life and my kid's life.

How did you get started?How hard was it?How do you get grants and financial aid?Basically everything.. I know I could call up a community college and get alot of this info...I just wanted to hear it from other moms and your experiences about the process.Thanks for any help..


Asked by Sunflower722 at 9:58 AM on Apr. 16, 2010 in

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Answers (10)
  • Well depends what you want to do. I am doing a xray tech program so am at a community college. I gets grants and loans and applied through fafsa. The process is realtively simple. The first time I actually went to the community college and applied and they will help you:) Now I do it online and its real easy. School is very hard and I have 3 kids. My program is intense. Its an Associates Degree program. Getting started is always stressful. Also do not worry about your age I thought I was a ''old" student at 24 when I started! LOL Now I am in the program and about to turn 32. There are so many other students my age so I don't feel old at all! In fact many are even older! LOL

    To get started I had to take a placement test then could enrol for courses. You can start at the community college and start those generals even if you are still undecided on a major. HAD I done this I would be done but NO I waited till I knew my major.

    Answer by hill2 at 1:00 PM on Apr. 18, 2010

  • Most community colleges I have seen only go up to associates degrees. But how to start. Look for the colleges and universities in your area. Find one that you like and with the degree that you eventually want to go to. The best thing about you being 30 is that it is going to be a ton easier for you to get into college than an 18 year old. My hubby got into the state university at 38 and he had dropped out of high school and earned a GED. So, you find out the application process and apply. While waiting, you will need to fill out your FAFSA forms. This is the form that tells you how much aid you get and begins the application process for loans. When you are accepted into the school of your choice, they will set appointments to help you with your Financial aid and class scheduling at that point.

    Answer by kuriequinn at 10:06 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • It depends on what field you want to go into as far as whether a community college or a 4 year university would be better. It would probably be best to start out at a community college to take some basic classes and get a handle on things. It's also nice because they generally run on the same schedule as the local public schools. I went to a 4 year university when I was 18 and graduated with my BA in History w/ 9-12 teaching cert., I went to a community college when I was 32 and graduated with my AS in biopharmaceuticals. I was nervous about returning too, but found that many of the people at community college were at least my age, if not older! I did get financial aid - went through the financial aid office at the community college, they were very helpful. I enjoyed school, both times I went and would love to go back, but professional student doesn't pay well!

    Answer by missanc at 10:07 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • I want to add that there is NO age limit on when you go back to school, its always a good thing and you should be extremely proud of your self for making the first step. Wanting to go. :)

    Answer by kuriequinn at 10:08 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • My husband (30) and I (28) just enrolled in college. We'll start in the fall. It's a big scary step let me tell ya!

    Once I started talking about it I got so much support for all over and that really helped me get over my doubts. Right now we're going to the community college because 1, it's cheaper to get all those core classes out of the way, and 2, it's right down the street.

    It was really easy, to get started with the applications but you might want to check your deadlines for application and filing for the FAFSA (loans/grants). I know they are rapidly approaching, as in a matter of weeks for Fall term. You also need to request transcripts from your high school and any colleges you attended before.

    We went to the campus and asked the advisers and they gave us a lot of great information. I think you'll be surprised how many non-traditional students there are and many, many of them older and with families.

    Good luck!

    Answer by Xynyth at 10:10 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • I am going back to college now and I'm 34. I think most community colleges are 2 year schools so whether or not you can get a degree probably would depend what you are going for. Some programs are 2 years and some you would have to transfer to a university. You can fill out an application for financial aid online at: If you decide to call a community college, they are usually wonderful about giving information and are not critical about your age. I was terrified to call but sick of how things are going for me. For me, bettering myself and our situation won and I just picked up the phone. After that, it's a lot easier than you would think to go to the campus and test and enroll. Good luck!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:14 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • Good for you!!

    Stay away from for-profit schools. They exist, by law, to make money for their owners/shareholders; education is not their priority. When I was in HR, I did not interview candidates from the for-profit schools.

    Start with a community college; they will likely have many classes on line and the credits will easily transfer to a state university. Make an appointment with the school's financial aid office.

    You can start looking for scholarships here:


    Answer by rkoloms at 10:16 AM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • You can start with community colleges. They will probably only have associate degrees though. You can do traditional college or you can do online college. I do online because I am a SAHM. The main thing is finding a degree that fits you. It took me like 5 years to find mine. So take lots of general classes until you find the major you want.

    As for placements, you could just start from stratch (which is what I would recommend given how long you have been out of school) which means taking 051 and 101 classes first. Or you can take the SAT or placement tests to try and test into higher classes.

    As for aid, fill out the FAFSA. It will give you some basic money. Like it qualifies you for federal loans and most likely the Pell Grant too and maybe even a state grant if the college you attend is in state.

    Feel free to message me anytime. I have been in college since I was 13 off and on and my husband has been for 8 years.

    Answer by purpleducky at 12:43 PM on Apr. 16, 2010

  • is where you sign up for financial aid. I started at a 4 yr university and it was overwhelming for me so I transferred to a 2 yr Community College. Most give 2 yr degrees that transfer to a 4 yr university. Comm. Colleges are usually a lot cheaper and just as good imho. They are smaller and more personable. I've gone to several comm colleges and 4 universities. I still liked CC better.

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:28 PM on Apr. 19, 2010

  • p.s. If you don't know your field of interest you can ask if they give aptitude tests so you don't waste a lot of money in a field of study then find out you don't like it. If they don't have one, try the unemployment office. Our Unemployment office offers them free.

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:29 PM on Apr. 19, 2010

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