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If you are an adult student planning on returning to school, here are 18 tips to help the process.

1. Don't take too many classes in your first semester. Take just as many credit hours that you will be able to handle easily. If you work full time, then maybe you should just try one or two classes until you know what you can handle.

2. If you don't work and you feel sure that you can handle full-time college, then try it! Remember to figure between 4-8 hours per week per class of study time if you expect to get a grade of B or higher. Twelve credit hours (these are the minimum amount to be considered full time), can add up to a whopping 36 hours of class hours and homework total per week.

3. After you've decided on the amount of credit hours you will take, it is time to decide which college to attend.

4. Non-traditional students get a much more individualized curriculum at the smaller branches, as do all of the students. There is much more one-on-one attention from your professors and much less stress. There also are much smaller classes at smaller technical schools, universities, and community colleges.

5. Now that you know how many hours you want and what school you want to attend, you need to pay for it! Before scheduling your classes, be sure to talk to the financial aid office, where you can apply for a variety of student loans, federal grants, and scholarships.

6. It is a good idea to check if a school offers any scholarships for non-traditional students; these are scholarships for students over 25, usually. Also, be sure to check bulletin boards that display various scholarships both outside the financial aid office and also in the area of the school where your classes are.

7. If you are planning to work at least part time, check to see if your college might hire you. If it does, usually any money that you earn will NOT count toward income when your financial aid is figured. This is part of another government program to help students afford college.

8. After you get your finances in order, it is time to decide on a major unless you have already. To help you with this, there are job placement tests and also aptitude tests that can aid you in your quest for a major. Ask about these tests in the registration office of your college.

9. Now that you are in the registration office, ask to see a college catalog or computer run-off. This will give you an updated list of available classes. Be sure to also get the application for admittance to the college. Now you need to schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor. After that, take all of the pamphlets and other forms home and read them. Fill out everything that is required and bring them back to your appointment.

10. Now that you have all of that done, start picking out your classes. Make up a few different schedules before you schedule your classes. Unfortunately, sometimes we are not able to get the times we want, so always be sure to try different combinations of these classes.

11. Before you schedule an appointment to register for your classes, also make sure to check if there is an entrance exam. Many colleges will require you to take these tests. If there are, take these tests first. There may be certain passing scores on these entrance tests required for admission in general or in some cases required before you can take a certain class.

12. If you have already received your acceptance to the university or college and you have finished the entrance tests, then you are ready to call and make an appointment with the registration office.

13. When you go to your appointment, have your class choices with you. Remember to bring more than one list.

14. When the advisor goes through the classes with you, make sure to ask questions if you don't understand something. Advisors go rather fast sometimes. If you do NOT want a class at the only time it is available, tell him/her that. It is you who will have to live with that time for six months, not your advisor.

15. After you get your schedule all hammered out, be sure to see when classes start.

16. Now it is time to go to the college bookstore. As soon as you enter the store, ask the clerk if you can pre-select your books. This means that the school will hold the books until your financial aid is paid to you. Usually this is a few weeks prior to the start of classes.

17. If you can afford to buy your books early, you may want to consider it. This will save you much time later! If you wait, you may be standing in line for hours. (Beware; college texts can be anywhere from $15-$125 for one book. Also, be aware of optional texts. Be sure to double check what is optional and what is required.)

18. This might save you some bucks: check for lower textbook prices at local student bookstores or even online.

Good luck!