Creating Your Timeline - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Creating Your Timeline

As an adult learner, you might have a different timeline than the traditional college student. For example, you may earn a bachelor's degree in less than four years if you're taking advantage of flexible schedules or accelerated courses. Or, it might take you longer than four years if you attend part time or need to take time off for work or family needs.

When you plan your college career, consider:

  • If you'll attend classes full time or part time.
  • What type of degree you want to earn.
  • Whether you have any transferable credits.

    • You may be able to use credits earned previously.
    • The college might grant you credit for work experience.
    • Based on your experience, you may be able to opt out of some general education requirements.

Returning to College As An Adult

If you're not sure, don't worry. Colleges have people on hand to help you plan for your college education. Set up meetings with:

  • An admission officer to discuss:
    • Admission requirements.
    • Deadlines for applications and other required paperwork.
    • Any credits you've already earned. (Bring your old transcripts and resumes.)
    • Special seminars, workshops or welcome days for nontraditional students.
    • Other programs, like married student housing or daycare, you're interested in.
  • An advisor from the program you're interested in to talk about:
    • Requirements for entering the program and for graduation.
    • How your class schedule will fit in with your other commitments.
  • A financial aid officer to discuss your options for financial assistance.




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