Returning to school as an adult can be a little frightening. Being prepared and knowing what to expect are your best defense. Your local community college is a good place to get your feet wet. A good deal of their student body is made up of returning adults and they have the staff and the programs on hand to help you succeed.
Most community colleges require students to be 18 years or older to attend classes. Some courses of study require that you provide proof of completion of high school or that you have acquired an equivalency certificate. You will need to check the requirements with your school and for your field of study before enrolling.
You will need to provide your social security number, name, address, date of birth and if not a U.S. citizen, show a valid immigration card.
In order to place you in the proper classes, you will be asked to take an assessment test. The test is given by appointment and covers reading, writing and math. A week or so later, you will receive the results of your test. It will contain scores on each part of the test and will state what level of classes you are prepared to take. In some cases, you may need to take classes to prepare you for the classes that apply to degree program. These preparatory classes will not count toward your degree, but without them, you may not pass the higher level classes.
Registering for Classes
Many community colleges ask you to meet with a counselor when you enroll for classes. They will have access to your assessment test scores and later to the list of classes you have completed. They can talk with you about your long term plans and how your class choices might affect them. For example, not all classes offered by a community college will transfer to a four year school. If you intend to pursue a higher level degree, they can help you select the right classes to keep you on your education path.
Regardless of whether you are attending full time or part time, you are free to pick whatever classes you desire so long as the prerequisites have been met. Prerequisites are those classes which teach basic or lower level information that you need to know before moving on to more complex classes such as taking basic math before studying algebra. You can take one class per semester or more. That choice is yours.
Tuition and Fees
After the enrollment process, you are responsible for paying any fees or tuition costs before classes begin. If you have applied for financial aid, this is the time to use it. You will be given a list of books and materials needed for your classes and it is your responsibility to get them prior to the start of class.
Every school has their own rules and policies, but this is a pretty standard idea of what you can expect when you enroll in community college. You should check with your admissions office to see what they specifically require.