How to Go Back to School After Dropping Out of College

Mar 02, 2023

Many Singaporeans place high importance on going to college and getting a degree. There are good reasons for this, as being in possession of a college diploma presents a person with career advantages later in life. College, however, isn’t for everyone. There are other avenues for learning and acquiring qualifications for fulfilling careers. For instance, there are high-impact and high-earning jobs that only require jobseekers to complete an apprenticeship program, sign up for a boot camp, undergo vocational training or simply volunteer. People who want to improve their career prospects without possessing a college degree also have the option to attend certificate courses in Singapore and acquire further credentials in this manner.

But if you discover that college is for you after dropping out some years ago, don’t despair. There are other people in the same situation as you, and age doesn’t really matter in a college classroom. Still, getting back into the groove, so to speak, can take a bit of getting used to. To make sure you’re ready to complete your degree this time, here are ways to get yourself in the right mindset for returning to college.

Think About Why You Stopped Going to College in the First Place

It’s important to think about why your first attempt at pursuing a college degree didn’t work out. There may have been practical reasons for this, as getting a college-level education is a resource-intensive activity. Some students are forced to drop out of college due to financial hardships or health issues that have rendered them unable to sustain their academic activities. It’s also possible that the course you were taking was not a good match for you, or that you had the opportunity to start a career without having to complete your college education.

Now that you’re thinking of going back to school again, how are you going to address the issue that made you drop out of college in the first place? If you had trouble finding financial support before, perhaps your monetary situation has changed or you were able to acquire a scholarship to continue your education. If your previous course was not a good match for you, perhaps your experiences in recent years have given you a better understanding of your strengths, weaknesses and career goals. If you were able to find a rewarding job straight out of secondary school, then perhaps you have more time now that 

Some people see their college diploma as a safety measure, like a parachute that they can use if their passion projects fail in the future. Others see a college degree as a way of securing better jobs, advancing in their respective careers and being entrusted with bigger responsibilities in the workplace. There are also those who see college as a safe space where they can experiment and see if their entrepreneurial ideas have a good chance of taking off in the real world. Then, there are people who take on college courses simply because they like learning and want to receive formal schooling in their field of interest. Knowing your reasons for continuing with your college education can help you focus on completing your chosen course this time around. This can serve as a lifeline whenever you’re having difficulties moving forward with your course and class requirements.

Determine the Educational Format That Works Best for You

Education comes in many forms, and Singapore colleges are quick to acknowledge that learning is not confined to a classroom. Today’s college students have the option to attend physical classes, sign up for online classes, or do hybrid distance learning programs. Early on, see which of these formats works well for you. If you have work, perhaps you prefer attending class online so you’ll be able to manage your time better. But then again, maybe you’re a traditional learner who prefers being in class and exchanging ideas with your professors and classmates in person. Or maybe you want to attend online classes with the option to join a seminar in person from time to time. Consider these options and determine which learning format will give you a better chance of benefiting from your college course and completing your requirements in the long run.

Assess Which of Your College Credits Are Eligible for Transfer

Finally, check if you have credits that can be transferred to your current college course. It’s possible that some of the classes you took in the past can still be credited to your current program. If you don’t have to retake classes so that they can count towards your college requirements, you can save a lot of time and money. Once these classes have been credited, perhaps you can start your new college life as a sophomore instead of a complete beginner, for example.

One of the advantages of being an older learner is having a greater understanding of how your current actions can have a direct impact on the course of your life. The initial awkwardness of being surrounded by younger classmates will pass. Once you complete your college education, you’ll have that credential with you for life, and you can use it to propel yourself forward in your personal and professional endeavours.

Sudipto Das

Sudipto writes educational content periodically for MyPrivateTutor Singapore and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.

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