Answering 4 questions the UMass Global admissions team frequently hears from adult learners
As a leader in online education for more than 20 years, UMass Global has a proven history of providing high-quality programs for non-traditional students – working adult learners in particular. Returning college students have unique needs and concerns compared to those of an 18-year-old high school graduate.
While each student has their own circumstances and aspirations, they can all benefit from support throughout the application process. At UMass Global, it’s enrollment coaches like Cindi Stevens who provide guidance and advice to applicants. Throughout her career, she has worked with thousands of adults going back to school while trying to stay on top of their other priorities.
Common college admissions FAQs
Get the answers to some of the most common questions Stevens hears on the job.
1. Do I really have time to work, raise a family and earn a degree?
According to Stevens, this is the number one question students have when applying to UMass Global. And it makes sense – our students are overwhelmingly adult learners with full-time jobs. In fact, 90 percent of UMass Global students work while completing a program.
We understand the realities of our students’ busy lives, which is why we offer three flexible learning options. Whether you choose a hybrid, online or competency-based program, there is sure to be a modality that meets your needs. Find out which one fits your lifestyle by taking this quiz.
UMass Global works hard to create a strong culture of support with dedicated student services that include:
- Enrollment coaches to help guide you through program selection, understand the admissions process and prepare for a successful start to classes.
- Academic advisors who assist you in building and following through with a personalized education plan.
- One Stop specialists to help you figure out tuition and fees, order textbooks, fill out forms and keep up to date on your financial aid status.
Need reassurance that you can manage it all? Check out our article “Firsthand advice for taking online classes while working full time.”
2. Can I afford to go back to school?
Unsurprisingly, this is the next most common question that future students ask during the admissions process, according to Stevens. Adult learners typically have many financial obligations and family responsibilities to consider. Paying for college as a working professional requires careful planning, but you don’t have to do it alone. UMass Global has a team of specialists who are experts in getting you the help and resources you need to pay for school.
In addition to working with your school’s financial aid office, you can also consider the following:
- Refresh your knowledge of important financial aid terms
- Apply for financial aid
- Inquire with your company about tuition assistance
- Apply for outside scholarships
- Explore accelerated courses from an accredited online program to save time and money
Looking for more advice about paying for college? Refer to our article “How to afford college as a working professional.”
3. Will my credits transfer?
Whether you are a transfer student from another university or heading back to school after a long pause, determining how many college credits you already have is essential. You must have a minimum of 12 credits in order to apply for an undergraduate degree program at UMass Global.
Credit transfers save you time and money, but the process of validating those credits can be tricky. Our enrollment coaches will walk you through the process of finding and evaluating every possible credit you may have earned.
Our goal is to ensure that students can earn a quality degree in the fastest, most cost-efficient way possible. That’s why we have four ways to give you credit for your prior experience:
- Community college or other university credits
- Military training or service
- Work experience
- Test out of classes
On the other hand, some people have viable college credits that they don’t want to carry over to their new degree, perhaps due to unsatisfactory grades. If that’s the case, undergraduate applicants can apply for an Academic Fresh Start. This means that all your academic and military coursework (completed at any institution of higher education 10 or more years prior to the time of application) will be ignored for admission purposes. Once admitted under Academic Fresh Start, you may not receive course credit for any courses taken 10 or more years prior to admission. This course work also cannot be used to satisfy prerequisite or degree requirements at UMass Global.
For other considerations related to transferring credits, refer to our “Transfer student’s guide to choosing the right college.”
4. Am I too old to go back to school?
If it’s been a few (or many) years since your last college class, you may be apprehensive about going back to school. Stevens recalls fielding this question many times, but it’s never been a concern to her. “I don’t even ask them how old they are, because at the end of the day that’s not really a problem,” she explains. “I’ve never counseled a student who was too old to be successful.”
Instead, she follows up with queries to help students identify perceived obstacles and process their fears. Consider the following:
- What made you decide to explore going back to school?
- Are you satisfied with your current job?
- If yes, how would a college degree help you climb the ladder?
- If no, could a college degree help you find a new job or make a career change?
- Who else in your life would be positively impacted by you earning a degree?
If you’re worried about being the only adult learner in a class full of teenagers, keep in mind that that UMass Global courses are designed specifically for non-traditional students. You’ll be working alongside classmates who also have a wealth of work and life experience, just like you.
If you think your age will be a hindrance in the classroom, think again! Consider these “7 reasons adult students actually have an advantage in the classroom.”
Don’t let your questions hold you back
Earning a degree at any age is a significant accomplishment. Going back to school may be one of the most important decisions you make in your life. Now that you have answers to some of your burning questions, what are you waiting for?
These questions and concerns are the exact reasons you’ll feel right at home at UMass Global, growing alongside likeminded adult learners. Find out if it’s the right fit for you in our article “8 Signs you belong at UMass Global.”
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