If you are one of the millions of Americans that have attended college but did not complete your degree, you might be wondering what to do next.
Did you know that most people that stop short of their degree, don’t fail out? In fact, most data shows that students simply stop going to college for various reasons – like fees, tuition costs, curriculum changes, or life situations.
Sound like you? You can still do something with those college credits. We put together a list of the most common steps you can take to get your degree.
Talk to an Academic Advisor
Your first step is to talk to an academic advisor and go over your transcript. Find out what requirements you have completed and what major will be the quickest path to graduation.
They’ll be able to walk you through your options and lay out a plan based on your needs and interests.
What if you can’t afford to go back to school to complete your degree?
Apply for financial aid
If you haven’t already exhausted your federal financial aid, file your Free Application for Federal Student Loans (FAFSA®). This application is your eligibility towards any financial aid, including most scholarships.
Look for a job with tuition reimbursement
There are so many companies that encourage their employees to go back to school and even front (at least some of!) the bill!
One of the great things about tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement is you generally don’t have to be in an advanced role. In fact, most of the time, it’s just a commitment of working for the company for a specific amount of time either before and/or after you complete the degree.
This is a great way to make some money, gain experience, and finish your education without incurring a lot of student debt or putting the extra financial burden on yourself.
Pursue a College Work-Study Program
Look into work-study programs with schools in your area. Sometimes schools have opportunities for students to work on campus and get reduced or free tuition. They might not be the ideal job, but it’s a short term sacrifice for a long-term reward.
Consider joining the military
That’s right — the military is an excellent way for people without degrees to get real-world experience and take advantage of tuition assistance while they are on active duty or use the G.I. Bill, when they leave the service.
All branches of the military offer college education resources. If you find that the military ends up being a fit for you, you can make a lasting career with a pension and go back to school when it fits your schedule.
There are many options available for people who have college credits and no degree— it just takes a little soul searching and creative thinking to see what options are the best fit for you.