Preparation is key to finding and choosing the college and program that best fits your life situation. Below are some items to collect and research so you can organize your information to be clear and concise.

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

You will need current and previous year tax returns for filing your FAFSA.

TRANSCRIPTS

If you attended college in the past, those courses can be evaluated for credit this time around. Gather all transcripts from colleges you have attended in the past—no matter when and how long you attended. Sometimes colleges do not place time limits on transcripts. It’s best to collect them from all of your previous schools. Do NOT open official copies, but ask for an unofficial copy (which should be provided for free).

PRIOR LEARNING DOCUMENTATION 

Collect all Certificates of Completion from places of employment, training, the military, volunteerism, and documents of credit from ACE, Dantes/DSST, CLEP, etc.

PREPARATION 

Prepare for your meeting with your college advisor by writing down questions that will help you make a decision, such as:

  • Total costs per course, per semester or quarter, and per year, as well as fees and any hidden fees, from start to finish.
  • Majors, minors, and courses.
  • Credits that will transfer into different degree options, including the number of transfer credits, and how, when, and where they will transfer into your program plan.
  • Time to degree completion.
  • Time and delivery of courses: in class, online, day, evening, weekend.
  • Offices and individual contact information for those you need to contact prior to attending classes, such as: admissions, veterans affairs, financial aid, or registrar.

COMPARE OPTIONS

Create a personal spreadsheet to help you compare college programs, costs, timelines, and other factors important to you. Graduate! Rhode Island partner colleges are all adult friendly institutions and offer day, evening, weekend, online, face-to-face, and accelerated programs. Research other institutions in our state at www.bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search. Once you have a list of 3-4 colleges it is time to decide and commit to your future!

Buyer beware! Earning a degree is great for many reasons, and most colleges and universities are legit, but know the facts: This site explains why some institutions are not legit and how to identify them.

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