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Going back to college can be a challenging decision and there are common obstacles you may face. You might have financial constraints, lack of time, fear of the unknown, or difficulty finding support. But these possible factors don’t have to hold you back from your higher education ambitions.

The good news is, in most cases, these challenges can be overcome.

Here are four common obstacles to going back to college and some tips on how to overcome them. Hopefully, you will be encouraged to get started in continuing your academic journey, regardless of the challenges that lay ahead.

Common Obstacles to Going Back to College

1. Personal Barriers

Many students who are going back to college after some time away lead complicated lives with heavy commitments; some have launched careers or even started families. Their time is precious, and they don’t want to waste it. Despite a desire to continue their education, they don’t believe it can fit into their schedules.

The good news is, in this ever-evolving world, you can pursue a certificate or degree online right from your dining room table. You can start your dream master’s program, add a professional certificate to your resume, or finish a degree you were never able to complete. Online and asynchronous programs are available for you to finish on your own time. 

2. Financial Barriers

The cost of education is another challenge; according to Education Data Initiative, 43.6 million American borrowers have federal student loan debt. It’s not always possible for people to make financial sacrifices to achieve their educational or professional goals. 

This is where continuing education programs and certificates are to your advantage. A variety of specialized programs are offered to you at a far more affordable price than traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees, which can run you higher than $30,000 annually. Opting for an online or hybrid program will also save you on the cost of housing and transportation.

3. Psychological Barriers

Everyone should experience the pure joy of learning without it feeling like a burden. The fear of failure can pose an obstacle, stopping students from pursuing their academic aspirations. For many students, learning new material in an unfamiliar environment is daunting, particularly after taking a break from school.

Luckily, resources are abundant. You are not alone in this new experience; your classmates will be anxious and eager to learn like you. Programs are designed to assist your success; you will be in great hands with caring professors, detailed class outlines, online support hours, IT help and more.

4. Academic Barriers

Students come from diverse educational backgrounds; some hold undergraduate degrees, while others may not have obtained a high school diploma. Gaining admission into particular programs can be difficult if an individual is missing the prerequisite classes or skills required.

Open classes offer a solution to this potential setback. Many continuing education programs offer an extensive selection of open classes for students of all learning abilities. This allows you to explore your subject of interest at a comfort level. Whether your goal is to raise your GPA, earn a transferable credit or simply discover a new passion, open classes can help you get there.