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The Adult Student Checklist

Have you been dreaming of pursuing a collegiate life but are unsure of where to begin? There are so many reasons for you to earn a degree, so we at Abound want to help you make that dream come true! This checklist was designed to help you start—or pick up where you left off—on your college path! From improving your skills or knowledge to knowing where to look for easy-entry careers, this list will help answer your questions and guide you in the right direction with your next step toward higher education.


  • In order to start college, you will need either a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate (GED). The GED is a high school equivalency exam used to show whether an adult who may not have completed from high school can still exhibit a graduate’s expected level of proficiency. Visit the official GED website to learn more, or do a simple Google search to find resources and exam locations in your area.
  • Learn about the needs and career patterns for various jobs, and think about what career you might want to pursue. There are tons of resources to find this information, including the U.S. Department of Labor’s interactive career search tool as well as the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can also identify potential opportunities by visiting or speaking with an advisor at a local community college.
  • Find the right school for you. As an adult, you’re likely to have other responsibilities and time constraints to think about in addition to the classes you’re considering. You want to find a school that offers not only the program you want, but also the class times and format that fits your lifestyle. Abound: Finish College is an incredible tool for choosing schools, featuring a college database to help narrow down your options and get in touch with schools that are trusted and confirmed to be Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced.

Resources for Working Parents Going Back to School

  • If you’re looking to advance within your current field of work, speak to your previous and current employers for their opinion. And if you’re changing careers, send an inquiry to professionals in your desired field for advice on schools that provide training in the skills you are looking to hone.
  • Ask your current employer whether there are any programs or offerings that could aid in helping you pay for school. It can be intimidating to ask, but you might find it easy to persuade your boss with a clear strategy.
  • Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship finder to discover scholarships that can support your personal funding. 
  • Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to apply for federally funded grants and loans. 
  • Meet with your desired school’s financial aid staff to learn about your potential options for aid as well as how to fill out different forms. And, of course, you can find more tips and helpful guides on financial aid in our advice section.

So, are you ready to kick off or continue your college search? Print out a copy of this blog to keep yourself on track, or share this blog with a friend or family member who is ready to take the next step, themselves. 

And always know that you can visit Abound to learn about how to begin your college journey in pursuit of the right college for you! 


  • Abound: Finish College guides you through the complicated process of choosing a school, applying, and completing your degree. Start by taking a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you. 
  • Discover more about federal funding to pursue your education.
  • Research federal income tax credits for education expenses to see how you can benefit from them.

More Helpful Guides:

Helpful Tips for Returning to College After Dropping Out

I’m an Adult Wanting to Finish College: Where Do I Start?

3 Reasons Why Earning a Degree Will Advance Your Career and Improve Your Life

How to Choose an In-Demand Degree

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links to products and services. We may receive commissions for purchases made through these links.

Get our weekly advice

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