A DEGREE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
We've heard many similar questions from adults who are thinking about returning to college to complete their degree. From the value of completing your education, to how Graduate! Philadelphia can provide support, you'll find answers to those questions and more below.
Is returning to college worth it?
Your decision to return to college can be life altering and allow you to earn more money, advance your career, and improve your life. On average, college graduates make about $1 million more over their lifetimes than those who do not have a degree.
I have a good job now, why return to college?
Studies show that college graduates rebound faster from downsizing, unemployment, and stepping out of the workforce. College graduates are less likely to be unemployed; if unemployed, they tend to find jobs faster. And when employers use computer screening for job applicants, being able to check off the "college degree" box can mean the difference between getting an interview and not.
Won't I feel out of place taking classes with so many younger students?
The number of adult students returning to college to complete their degrees will surprise you. While adults often have concerns about fitting in with the younger "traditional" students, or that they may be "too old," there are so many adults now returning to college that adult learners are no longer being considered "non-traditional" students. In fact, many adults say they often find themselves sitting next to, or even surrounded by, adult students. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education show that adult students are the fastest growing educational demographic. Additionally, our partner colleges offer programs and courses that are tailored to adult students.
Will my old credits count toward the degree I intend to pursue?
Chances are many of them will. The actual number will depend on your degree and where you chose to complete it. Graduate! Philadelphia's advisors will help you understand more about credit transfer, and how to maximize the number of "old" credits you can carry forward with you.
I've heard about credits for lifelong learning. Am I eligible?
Graduate! Philadelphia's partner colleges are interested in helping adults earn college credits for college-level learning that has occurred outside a college classroom. Graduate! Philadelphia advisors can help you understand this process and how to best take advantage of this opportunity.
Must I pursue my degree at a Graduate! Philadelphia partner college?
No, Graduate! Philadelphia staff is trained to help each student identify his or her BEST options for completing a college degree, including but not limited to our partners. Our college partners send their advisors to the Graduate! Philadelphia Center to help prospective students get back to and through college. The final choice is up to the student. Students will be connected to fully accredited colleges that have proven track records of supporting adult students through degree completion.
I do not have transportation. How can I get to my classes?
Some courses can be completed online; so as long as you have a computer, you may rarely need to visit the actual campus. If you prefer classes that meet face-to-face, Graduate! Philadelphia can help you identify possible public transportation routes.
Do I have to live in Philadelphia to work with Graduate! Philadelphia?
No, Graduate! Philadelphia is regional. Our services are available to all adults living in the Greater Delaware Valley. If you cannot come to our center, you can talk to our advisors on the phone or via email. Contact Graduate! Philadelphia
Do I have to pay for Graduate! Philadelphia services?
No. All of our services are FREE.
What are the benefits of registering with Graduate! Philadelphia?
There are many. Registering with Graduate! Philadelphia will allow you to waive application fees when applying to our partner colleges, receive free guidance and advice on college choices and important decisions as they relate to your return to college, receive announcements about funding and scholarship opportunities, attend free workshops, and much more.
Can you help me manage my college, work, and family schedules?
Yes, Graduate! Philadelphia understands that taking classes can be quite challenging for adults, given the demands of work and other responsibilities, and time spent with family. For those reasons, Graduate! Philadelphia has created a comprehensive workshop series that provides critical tools to assist with making a smooth transition to college and succeeding once you're there. See Graduate! Philadelphia's calendar for upcoming events and workshops
Additionally, many colleges now offer flexible programs that include online classes, evening, and select weekend schedules. Many programs are accelerated, which means that courses last 5–8 weeks instead of the traditional 13–14 weeks. We'll help you identify a program that fits your schedule and develop a plan to manage your time.
My study skills are a bit rusty. What services do you provide?
Graduate! Philadelphia offers refresher workshops in math, internet research, composition, testing, and note-taking tips. Graduate! Philadelphia can also provide referrals to organizations that provide Adult Basic Education classes. See the calendar for upcoming events and workshops
What do I do if I'm having academic difficulty after I enroll?
Contacting Graduate! Philadelphia should be one of your first steps if you are experiencing difficulty. Graduate! Philadelphia can provide advocacy, support, and referrals that can assist you in navigating your institutional resources.
How am I going to pay for my courses?
There are many colleges in the Greater Philadelphia area, and they all have different tuition rates. Some colleges may even offer reduced (or "discounted") tuition rates. Federal and state grants and low-interest loans are also available.
To make sure you have the financial support you need, Graduate! Philadelphia provides FREE workshops on completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the first step toward any financial assistance, and the Philadelphia Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) grants and loans.
FREE one-on-one support is also available for completing the form at the Graduate! Philadelphia Center. Additionally, Graduate! Philadelphia advisors will assist you in exploring your employer's tuition reimbursement policies, if applicable. The Graduate! Philadelphia Center also houses a wealth of up-to-date information on scholarships for adult students.
Graduate! Philadelphia hosts a number of events and workshops throughout the year to help you identify the best way to pay for college. See the calendar for upcoming events and workshops
There is also a wealth of information available on this website. Learn more about paying for college
I have bad credit. Will that affect my eligibility for financial aid?
If you have deferred on an education loan or owe money to a college, you must resolve the situation before you can be admitted to another college. PHEAA has a loan rehabilitation program and deferment and forbearance options for people who cannot make any payments at present. Learn more or call 1-800-328-0355. If you have a defaulted loan, call 1-800-233-0751. Private lenders realize the benefit of providing loans to those looking to get their college degree. But beware of predatory lenders who will charge sky-high interest rates. Graduate! Philadelphia's financial workshops will help you understand the resources available in order to build an affordable financial plan for finishing your education. See the calendar for upcoming events and workshops
Will my employer help me pay for college?
That depends on where you work. Many companies do provide tuition support for their employees. The first step in finding out if your employer will provide assistance is talking to them. Get tips on talking to your employer