Congratulations! You’re headed back to school.
  • Apply to the college that’s right for you (our college partners waive application fees)
  • Review financial aid award package
  • Register for classes
  • Take advantage of on-campus resources – advising, tutoring, career, counseling, etc.

Applying to School

  • To help you decide which college is best for you, create a spreadsheet to compare college programs, costs, timelines, etc. Remember, Graduate! Philadelphia’s partner colleges are all adult friendly institutions and offer day, evening, weekend, online, face-to-face, and accelerated programs so you have lots of options to choose from. And, our partner colleges waive all application fees.
  • Once you decide on which school you want to attend, get the application and read through the whole thing and make note of important deadlines. Most colleges have an online application, but some require paper applications for specific programs.
  • Buyer beware!  Earning a degree is great for many reasons, and most colleges and universities are legitimate, but know the facts: Visit to find out why some institutions are not legitimate and how to identify them.

College Placement

Many colleges require applying students to test their skills prior to enrollment in order to qualify for college level courses. Accuplacer is a commonly used assessment tool but you should prepare in advance for the test. While you may have to refresh your skills in a so-called developmental course, it’s best to minimize the number of these courses you have to take, as they do not accrue credit toward your degree. Even a couple of hours of preparatory study can make the difference between almost-passing and passing the test.

Test Prep

Ask your Graduate! Philadelphia advisor for information on math and english refresher workshops led by our advisors or our partner advisors.

Review Financial Aid Award Package

Once you are accepted into a college, you will receive information about your financial aid award package. If you need more money to attend, don’t be afraid to negotiate with your financial aid counselor. They sometimes can offer you additional scholarship money to help offset tuition costs.

Read your financial aid letter information carefully as you will need to understand how much you will receive in grants (state and federal) and how much you will need to borrow (and repay!) in student loans.  Be careful if you are considering several schools as the financial aid letters are not always in the same format.   

Register for Classes

  • Talk to your advisor to make sure you are taking the right courses to fulfill the requirements of your major. Challenge yourself and explore other courses that interest you.
  • Courses required for your major may not be offered every semester. Your college advisor can help you plan out your courses during your time in school.
  • Review course descriptions and register early to be sure to get a spot in the class you want to take.

On-Campus Resources

  • Identify and use campus resources: Attend orientationsskipping the orientation is a common mistake adults make. So much important information as well as shortcuts and tips are shared at orientation, and you might find people you know, or get to know people with the same goals and course schedule.
  • Find the library, learning center, and tutoring services.  You might need all three at some point!
  • Don’t forget that colleges have career offices and counseling centers that can support all of your needs.