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Credentials Center
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College for adults

Never been to college—or started but never finished?

Starting or returning to college as an adult can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Follow the steps below to make your experience as smooth as possible.

1. Be prepared. Don’t have a high school degree? Get started earning your high school equivalency.

2. Gather materials and documents. Have a high-school degree or college credit? Contact your former schools early to get the transcripts you’ll need for your application process.

3. Pick the right career. Not sure about the field you want to get trained in? Visit CareerOneStop’s Explore Careers to identify a good career fit for you.

4. Find the right school. Search for schools and training programs in your neighborhood or across the country with the Local Training Finder.

5. Learn how to keep costs down and pay for school. Check out Student aid for adult students for financial aid tips and resources.

6. Don't let yourself get ripped off. Once you’ve identified a school or program, follow the tips in Is education worth it? to help make sure the program you found is a good value.

7. Keep yourself on track. Be sure to make a budget to help you balance your living expenses, education expenses, and income. Research shows that having a solid budget plan makes you less likely to drop out of school and more likely to achieve your goals.