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Where to Go for Support


Once you've entered college, your objective is to stay in the program. You'll want to make yourself aware of the different types of support systems offered by your school. Some sources of support offered by different schools include:

Counseling Office. This office is designed to help students identify their goals and strategies in getting a higher education. The office typically has aptitude and interest tests that can help determine a specific course of study. Counselors can help adult students deal with personal or academic problems.

Adult Re-Entry Center. An adult re-entry center is designed to help adults returning to college and is staffed by people who understand the special challenges of the adult student. It may offer short, optional classes in time and stress management, assertiveness training and financial aid options. Not every school has this type of program. However, as the number of adults returning to college increases, such centers are becoming more common.

Financial Aid Office. Virtually every school has a financial aid office. This office has people who know about the different scholarships, loans, grants and work-study programs available to students. To make sure you're getting all the funds available to you, visit the financial aid office at your school early and often.

Academic Advisors. An academic advisor plays a slightly different role than a general counselor. This individual is an instructor who teaches a specific subject (such as math, biology or education). Once you've selected a specific major or program of study, you're assigned an academic advisor who can counsel you on the specific courses you should take for your major area of study.

Day Care. Some schools have day-care facilities for toddlers and/or preschoolers. These day-care facilities are often state-supported (no charge) or have a slight fee. The fees can often be offset by child care grants.

Tutorial Services. Most colleges have a program that allows students to work one-on-one with a tutor (usually another student who's more advanced in that skill area). These services are usually free. A good tutor can explain difficult concepts and encourage your efforts.

Remedial Classes. Don't let the title scare you away. If you need help in some basic math, reading or writing skills, be sure to ask for it. You can't move ahead to more complex subjects until you're secure in the basics.

Learning Disability Center (LDC). Many schools have trained specialists who work one-on-one with students to help them learn to cope with their disability. If you think you may have a learning disability, discuss the options with the LDC or your academic counselor.