You can and probably should finish your degree, even when you’re concentrating on your recovery. One major reason is the financial benefit; the more educated you are, the more likely you are to gain employment and increase your income.1 More than 37 million people have attended college but never earned a degree.2 Let’s take a look at how to avoid becoming part of this statistic when you finish your degree during recovery.
Tips to Successfully Finish Your Degree
1. Find the right college.
When you’re planning your strategy for a return to school, consider finishing your degree at a place where they welcome returning adults. If you’re 25 or older, many colleges will consider you a nontraditional student. Nontraditional students make up close to 40 percent of the college population.3 Look for a college that recognizes and caters to returning adults, because they’ll have a commitment to supporting this student population by offering ways to improve degree access and achievement.
2. Apply for financial aid.
Don’t let money stop you when you want to finish your degree. If the college of your choice is out of reach financially, look into available scholarships and grants. Also, apply for financial aid and research student loans. If you’re working, see if your company offers tuition reimbursement or other education opportunities.
3. Research life experience credits.
While you were taking a break from college, you may have served in the military, acquired specialized college-level knowledge on the job or gained knowledge from independent reading or hobbies. Your life and work experiences may apply as possible college credit, which can help you finish your degree sooner.
4. Stay healthy.
College can be exhausting. But once you’ve started, it’s important to maintain attendance. Stay healthy by eating well, exercising and practicing self-care to battle fatigue or nerves that can pop up when you’re finishing your degree. Keeping yourself healthy keeps ailments to a minimum. Don’t let these become excuses for avoiding finishing your degree or for relapse. Challenges are all part of the process.
5. Avoid the partying aspects of college.
Unfortunately, college life often includes parties that involve drugs and alcohol. Avoid going to social events that could jeopardize your recovery, even if you feel you can handle the temptations. It’s not worth the risk. Keep your eye on your long-term goal: to finish your degree.
Need an Extra Push to Finish Your Degree?
If you’re looking for an extra push to get you to finish your degree, keep in mind the sense of accomplishment and the boost to your self-esteem you’ll experience as you work toward your goals. Also, the potential for a satisfying career that earns you more money will be within your reach.
Don’t Let Anything Stop You
Don’t let age, money or anything else get in the way of a better life. There’s always a way to reach your goals. You’ve made it into recovery, which is no easy task, so keep the momentum going by getting your degree. It will open up more rewarding and fulfilling possibilities in your sober life.