Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(17,796 posts)
Wed May 13, 2015, 08:46 AM May 2015

Small personal good news....

Received SSDI approval, did not even realize what a weight that was until after it was lifted.

Now on to next project-requesting information, knowledge, and suggestions for 55 year old returning college student. The way I messed up in college, if you can imagination a way to do it wrong I probably did it, is the largest repairable(?) mistake in my life.

The loose plan is to start with 1 or2 online courses. Financing, studying, and working around disable are all areas I could use as much wisdom as possible. Additional if there's anything I should beware of, but might not know, please be free to point it out.

Thank you for your time reading this.

91 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Small personal good news.... (Original Post) daleanime May 2015 OP
Congratulations! marym625 May 2015 #1
Thanks.... daleanime May 2015 #3
Not stupid at all marym625 May 2015 #6
So true... daleanime May 2015 #10
You're in Illinois, right? marym625 May 2015 #11
No, I'm sure there's a ton of great people there.... daleanime May 2015 #14
sounds like that would be like me telling my dad I'm a cubs fan. marym625 May 2015 #15
can you work while on SSDI, if you can't, why go to school? snooper2 May 2015 #2
The largest part of why is because I want to... daleanime May 2015 #7
That is a very good reason to go back to college but make sure that once educated for a new job jwirr May 2015 #38
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #43
Thank you. jwirr May 2015 #44
I returned to grad school on my 49th birthday, for sheer love of learning and not money Hekate May 2015 #90
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #91
Be prepared to work a little harder than your fellow students jimlup May 2015 #4
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #9
I took some ohheckyeah May 2015 #22
Self motivated, no problem.... daleanime May 2015 #45
You're welcome - ohheckyeah May 2015 #57
Congrats! Sherman A1 May 2015 #5
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #12
Congratulations, daleanime! octoberlib May 2015 #8
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #13
Congrats. n/t FSogol May 2015 #16
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #18
Good luck! Octafish May 2015 #17
Stopping is not a option..... daleanime May 2015 #20
Congratulations, that's great news! petronius May 2015 #19
Starts taking notes.... daleanime May 2015 #24
What are your degrees going to be in? I'd like to give you some specialized advice, if Nay May 2015 #33
Main area of interest is Sociology.... daleanime May 2015 #35
OK. Sociology and education will probably require you to get fairly heavily Nay May 2015 #41
Excellent advice... daleanime May 2015 #47
Better advice is to take stats TBF May 2015 #64
Courses change depending on the departments offering them? daleanime May 2015 #66
Yes - they will focus on TBF May 2015 #68
Good to know.... daleanime May 2015 #86
ok sweetapogee May 2015 #46
Thank you senpai.... daleanime May 2015 #48
before I started this adventure, sweetapogee May 2015 #89
Don't skimp on sleep. Everything else should fall into line in time. randome May 2015 #21
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #27
................... marmar May 2015 #23
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #28
My daughters taken both online and on campus classes riderinthestorm May 2015 #25
The benefits of on campus.... daleanime May 2015 #30
I second the idea of taking campus classes first. I took a French class and Nay May 2015 #32
Fantastic!!!! deurbano May 2015 #26
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #49
Glad to hear this. SheilaT May 2015 #29
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #50
congratulations!! I know what a difficult, burdensome process this is, glad you made it through. niyad May 2015 #31
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #37
Congrats Omaha Steve May 2015 #34
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #36
Most universities have a disability resources department and can help most. RadiationTherapy May 2015 #39
Good idea that I never thought to check on.... daleanime May 2015 #51
Have you considered your local community college? Cassidy May 2015 #40
Thank you senpai.... daleanime May 2015 #52
. ScreamingMeemie May 2015 #42
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #53
congrats Liberal_in_LA May 2015 #54
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #62
congrats! irisblue May 2015 #55
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #63
I went back to school at your age to finish up an undergrad degree and found what CTyankee May 2015 #56
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #65
I know I had been traumatized by algebra as a kid and the thought of it in a college course CTyankee May 2015 #77
I have to admit to suffering some.... daleanime May 2015 #85
Exactly. I wanted to get it out of the way early and then the other courses were CTyankee May 2015 #87
Congratulations! vive la commune May 2015 #58
Thank you very much! daleanime May 2015 #67
CONGRATS nadinbrzezinski May 2015 #59
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #74
I am happy for you awoke_in_2003 May 2015 #60
Thank goodness that I had a much easier time of it.... daleanime May 2015 #75
What wonderful news! myrna minx May 2015 #61
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #76
I'm glad for you!! Lifelong Protester May 2015 #69
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #78
Whatever you do if you go online, use an actual public college. Your quality of education... Hekate May 2015 #70
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #79
congratulations. barbtries May 2015 #71
Thank you senpai.... daleanime May 2015 #80
I did it yellowwoodII May 2015 #72
Planning on working my tail off.... daleanime May 2015 #73
Congratulations. NaturalHigh May 2015 #81
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #83
Thank you so much everyone..... daleanime May 2015 #82
Happy for you! mgardener May 2015 #84
Thank you.... daleanime May 2015 #88


(17,796 posts)
3. Thanks....
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:01 AM
May 2015
sounds stupid, but feels like such a big weight has been lifted. Now I can focus on what I need to. Diet, exercise, studying,....(the next election ).


(17,997 posts)
6. Not stupid at all
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:11 AM
May 2015

I know people that have gone through this. It's a horrible and demeaning process. I am very happy for you!


(17,997 posts)
11. You're in Illinois, right?
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:27 AM
May 2015

I seem to remember you saying that but maybe I am wrong.

I understand Illinois is the worst


(17,796 posts)
14. No, I'm sure there's a ton of great people there....
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:32 AM
May 2015

been lucky enough to meet some, but I live in the empire state of New York. And no I'm not a Yankee fan (sorry Dad).


(17,997 posts)
15. sounds like that would be like me telling my dad I'm a cubs fan.
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:39 AM
May 2015

He would be spinning in his grave. Good thing I want the Sox to win against the Cubs. But I like them both. Unheard of in Chicago


(17,796 posts)
7. The largest part of why is because I want to...
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:16 AM
May 2015

I enjoy learning, I never could have admitted that when I was younger, too embarrassing.

But I also want to be more active in social issues, I want to play a small part in improving education, I want to be more vocial....

I want....
I want...
I want...

Guess I'm kind of greedy. I know this decision makes no sense as far as $ is concerned. Shoot listen to some grad students for a bit and that's easy to find out. But I think it's the best for me.


(39,215 posts)
38. That is a very good reason to go back to college but make sure that once educated for a new job
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:27 AM
May 2015

the Social Security Department will not decide you are able to work and take their checks back. If you look like you are rehabilitated they think that means you can take care of yourself.

My brother with bi-polar is challenged all the time because he does physical things to handle his bi-polar. What the SSA does not consider is that sometimes that "work" is not reasonable. A friend is a great painter but depression keeps her from really good work. If she does manage to paint something that is near to her old paintings they want her off of SSA. Unfortunately the truth is that she has painted 3 really great paintings in the last 20 years.


(17,796 posts)
43. Thank you....
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:37 AM
May 2015

that is a concern, also I don't know if I could physically carry a full class load, 2 or 3 classes may be my limit. Will have to find out by experimentation.

for your brother and friend, and you. I'm glad you're there for both of them.


(89,765 posts)
90. I returned to grad school on my 49th birthday, for sheer love of learning and not money
Thu May 14, 2015, 02:28 PM
May 2015

I could not have done it earlier, and could not do it now. I was just so fortunate.

Go go go, daleanime, and may the blessings of all scholars go with you. Nothing that you learn will be wasted.


(7,968 posts)
4. Be prepared to work a little harder than your fellow students
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:02 AM
May 2015

speaking as a 57 year old - going back to school is hard! I'm currently taking an online course in recognizing climate denial. It is tough to keep up with the work. And I get frustrated with things that I suspect younger people have less trouble with.

Because of where we are in our lives it is much harder to refocus on school work. Congratulations on your approval! I hope you can make it work out for you.


(17,796 posts)
9. Thank you....
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:23 AM
May 2015

you're exactly the type of person I want to hear from. It's frustrating to admit, but I read slower then I use to and more often have to reread things. Whats the best tip for online work you can give me senpai?


(9,314 posts)
22. I took some
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:29 AM
May 2015

distance learning classes and I can tell you they are harder than classes at the college. You HAVE to be self motivated and organized. I got A's but it was hard work. I found being older (I was in my late 40's) was an advantage. Instructors liked older students. The young people were often clueless about some things.

I had an instrutor tell one student that his work ethic was sorely lacking and he couldn't figure out what she meant because he didn't have a job. Lol

I loved adult education. I appreciated the opportunity to learn so much more as an adult.


(9,314 posts)
57. You're welcome -
Wed May 13, 2015, 03:35 PM
May 2015

I had to work on the discipline part a bit but Ivdid well. I just liked my classes at the college better.


(55,745 posts)
17. Good luck!
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:48 AM
May 2015

You're gonna love it, daleanime! And you might be surprised at how much you'll want to keep learning.

You might want to check out some of the free online resources for learning, then move into a formal, accredited program.

Once you reach your goal, don't stop...


(17,796 posts)
20. Stopping is not a option.....
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:13 AM
May 2015

the goals I've set for myself are too big.

'Free' online resources? That may be a good starting point.


(26,571 posts)
19. Congratulations, that's great news!
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:10 AM
May 2015

I'd suggest--if it's manageable--trying to get into in-person classes as well; don't gravitate immediately to the online. The learning experience is very different and probably more familiar to you, and the personal interaction, IMO, is extremely valuable. (And as a professor, I very often find that non-traditional and returning students contribute immensely to the classroom; you're the kind of student that I want in the room rather than behind a screen. </selfish advice> )

Also, make sure to communicate quickly with your instructors (and other campus resources) if you have questions or needs. Too often I see students try to power through on their own when issues could have been easily corrected at an early stage...


(17,796 posts)
24. Starts taking notes....
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:32 AM
May 2015

the loose plan is to use online to 'get my feet wet'. I have areas I know I have to address is I'm going to succeed. (In peculiar my writing and math skills both need to be worked on.) Start a few in person classes as opportunities become available, then finish the bachelors with either the last year or semester being full time.

Making use of any available resources will be very important. I need to wrap up the bachelors in shape to start the masters.

Hope teachers will see me as a plus.


(12,051 posts)
33. What are your degrees going to be in? I'd like to give you some specialized advice, if
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:05 AM
May 2015

they are degrees I am familiar with....


(17,796 posts)
35. Main area of interest is Sociology....
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:21 AM
May 2015

have my Associates, plan on getting my Doctorates. Yes, I am ambitious.

Want to study class, relations and mobility, education, and labor history(thank you Omaha Steve. )


(12,051 posts)
41. OK. Sociology and education will probably require you to get fairly heavily
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:33 AM
May 2015

into statistics, at least Statistics 201 and 202. I'd take the college's math placement test to see where you are, and then talk with someone about remedial classes if needed. Get that out of the way. I wouldn't try to learn the needed math online -- very tough. Teachers/tutors are better.

Take the English placement test while you are at it. Just from your posts, the only problem I can see is some iffy punctuation rather than spelling or construction errors. That puts you way ahead of the general mass of semi-literate 18-year-olds, so review punctuation before you take that test and you should be good.


(17,796 posts)
47. Excellent advice...
Wed May 13, 2015, 12:56 PM
May 2015

thank you.

The math is a worry. Think I'll start with that.

Once upon a time I was an English tutor. Very aware that I've devolved some bad habits. With the goals I have improvement is a necessity. Spelling needs to be worked on also to be honest. I love spell check. However increasing the amount I write seems to be helping with that.

Thanks again.


(31,873 posts)
64. Better advice is to take stats
Wed May 13, 2015, 08:27 PM
May 2015

Through your sociology department. That is what I did years ago at UW-Madison. Any reputable program is going to have statistics (research methods). You will take it again in your masters program.

E-books can be a blessing. I have a Kindle but there is also software for reading on tablets, PCs, etc. I like that because I can make the print larger etc.

I have my bachelor's from the 80s and went back in 2000 for my masters in Human Resources. It can definitely be done! Good luck!


(17,796 posts)
66. Courses change depending on the departments offering them?
Wed May 13, 2015, 08:52 PM
May 2015

That makes sense, but won't have thought of it if you hadn't mentioned it.


(31,873 posts)
68. Yes - they will focus on
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:20 PM
May 2015

methods and the type of data you will typically collect as a researcher in the social sciences. I did try to take it through the math department initially but dropped after 2 days because I couldn't understand a word the guy was saying. Picked it up through Sociology instead.


(17,796 posts)
86. Good to know....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:59 AM
May 2015

focus on classes in department. Really does make sense when you think about it, but if you don't....

Can see that tripping people up very easy.


(1,168 posts)
46. ok
Wed May 13, 2015, 12:47 PM
May 2015

Right at this moment I'm in the library of my local community college. Taking a brief break before getting back to the task at hand which is my final exam this evening in Stats. I'm at the end of my 7th semester going PT as I also have a full time job and many other things to do.

When I started this adventure, I did so as a college graduate with degree from 1981. Still, I had to take an entrance test; my college uses the Compass test. I don't know about online colleges or business schools but every community college around here requires adults wishing to take regular for credit class must take the compass test.

I know that many take online courses with great convenience but if you are taking any math then it isn't as easy as it sounds. Classes such as science classes that have labs are of course done on campus. One of, if not the best part of being a student again is being on campus though. I'm older than a lot of the students parents but it is really fun being around them. You do see the foolishness that we were guilty of and you see the seriousness of the really motivated students also. I take math and science classes so I'm around (in general) the more serious students.

For me it's a great thing. In the fall, I'm taking Organic Chemistry 1. A class of that magnatude would not have been possible for me back in the day. The pre-requsite classes here are Fundamentals of Chemistry, General Chemistry 1 and 2, Intermediate Algebra, Trig or Pre- Calculus.

Being an adult generally means a higher appreciation for the time spent doing the work.


(17,796 posts)
48. Thank you senpai....
Wed May 13, 2015, 01:08 PM
May 2015

you're right where I want to be. Statics is a must for me since my interest is sociology.

Good luck and go get'em.


(1,168 posts)
89. before I started this adventure,
Thu May 14, 2015, 01:36 PM
May 2015

which began as simply taking a single math course, I bought the dummies guide to basic math and pre-algebra. It had been over 30 years since I had done any "maths" and even on my best day my skills were not very good. Anyway, over the course of 5 weeks I worked through the dummies guide, not turning a page until I knew everything on that page.

I then took the previously mentioned Compass Test and actually scored high enough (by a squeeker) to take intermediate algebra. Since my intention was to do this for personal enrichment and not a job, I took elementary algebra instead. I'm glad I did, took my time and got myself back into the swing of being in school. It seemed to me that I had a better grasp of things compared to those who the semester prior took the college course in basic math. I'm still on friendly terms with the professor I had for elementary algebra and he told me that typically about 26-28 students begin the course and on average 5 pass. He has a class this semester where not one single student passed. He is btw, a very good instructor and nice person.

Anyway, most of the students in my stats class are in the health care field or some kind of business program. My college requires social work majors to take it also. The prereq are Elementary and Intermediate Algebra. For your information, Elementary Algebra is basically equivalent to the first year of HS algebra, Intermediate is the second year. In my opinion it is more than that but this is what they say. A first semester elementary algebra student should be able to do all of the required work without using a graphing calculator, (the ever popular TI-84 plus), the intermediate student will need to graph linear regressions on the calc and other things.

The stats student is expected to use both the graphing calculator and either a spread sheet or a stats program (I used statcrunch). All of the work in the second half of the course (the probability portion) I used the TI calculator. While I think the prereq of Intermediate Algebra is a bit of overkill, I doubt that a student that has not taken any kind of algebra class in years or decades would pass it. And not knowing how to use a graphing calculator (by this I mean really know how to really use one) would be a death knell.

I've noticed that the higher up the academic chain you go, the more advanced the class you take, the less students that drop out of the class. Only two students dropped the stats class I was in. I spent 3.5 hours on the final exam and when I handed in my test, there were still 5 or 6 students working away on it. I would say that stats is easier than college algebra/pre-calc, but still it's not easy either, especially the probability portion. One thing I took away from the class is that most people misuse statistics to argue for their point, for or against their pet project.

Anyway daleanime, go to it and enjoy yourself.



(34,845 posts)
21. Don't skimp on sleep. Everything else should fall into line in time.
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:25 AM
May 2015

[hr][font color="blue"][center]Birds are territorial creatures.
The lyrics to the songbird's melodious trill go something like this:
"Stay out of my territory or I'll PECK YOUR GODDAMNED EYES OUT!"


(17,796 posts)
27. Thank you....
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:36 AM
May 2015

and good point. One of the few things I like about my life right now is that I do not set an alarm clock. I get up when I get up.



(23,272 posts)
25. My daughters taken both online and on campus classes
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:35 AM
May 2015

Shes motivated and bright but found she learned "more" in her on campus classes.

She procrastinated more for her online classes. She skimmed more. She had no interaction with classmates and felt she didn't gain as much "peripheral" knowledge that usually accompanies a class discussion.

Her advice? Take an on campus class first. Then take an online class. Or take one of each to see what kind suits your learning style best but don't just go with the online exclusively.

She's a social butterfly however and loves a party so YMMV on whether you crave company while you work. She does. She really doesn't like sitting alone at her computer working away - she thrives on the interactions.

Congratulations on your SSDI and good luck in school!


(17,796 posts)
30. The benefits of on campus....
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:44 AM
May 2015

seems to be a theme. I may want to move it a little closer on my schedule. I'm not much of a social butterfly, but I love talking to people.

Thanks for her, and yours, advice.


(12,051 posts)
32. I second the idea of taking campus classes first. I took a French class and
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:02 AM
May 2015

found the classroom interaction to be wonderful (barring a couple of 18-yr-old idiot slackers). Teachers LOVE adult students because they are there to learn, not go to keggers.

Classroom learning is much deeper, longer lasting, richer, and more fun. As far as worrying about your English skills, your posts are fine (unlike many!). Math? Go to the school and take their (free, usually) math placement exam and see how you fare. You may not need much math, either, unless your bachelor's requires it.



(23,156 posts)
29. Glad to hear this.
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:42 AM
May 2015

I also suggest you take classes on campus. It is a lot harder to be motivated if you don't actually have to show up for class.

I also disagree with those who say it's harder if you're older. I've been taking college classes on and off my entire adult life. The first time I went back to college at age 29, ten years after first dropping out, I was petrified that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the kids who'd just gotten out of high school. Ha! I ran circles around them.

The older student brings perspective and experience a younger student simply doesn't have. Most professors and instructors very much like the older students.

Also, as an older student, you may well be entitled to free or reduced-tuition classes. One community college I attended (Johnson County Community College in Johnson County, KS) offers completely free classes to students over age 50. The only catch is you have to wait until the last day of regular enrollment to sign up so that you are not taking a space from a paying student. I never had any trouble getting any of the classes I wanted.


(17,796 posts)
50. Thank you....
Wed May 13, 2015, 01:12 PM
May 2015

starting to think that I need to redo my planned schedule. In person classes might be so much better for me.


(111,264 posts)
31. congratulations!! I know what a difficult, burdensome process this is, glad you made it through.
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:56 AM
May 2015

now, on to your college life!!


(17,796 posts)
36. Thank you....
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:25 AM
May 2015

I know, and that process needs to be changed badly.

And thank you for getting me interested in one of the areas I want to study, labor history.


(200 posts)
40. Have you considered your local community college?
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:29 AM
May 2015

Congrats on successfully navigating the SSDI process.

I would strongly recommend you check out the offerings of your local community college(s). Community colleges offer many of the advantages of 4-year colleges or universities such as personal contact with instructors and fellow classmates, but they are also designed with part-time students in mind. That means that there are more evening classes and your instructors are accustomed to "non-traditional" students in the classroom. It also means that your fellow students are more likely to be non-traditional and motivated by the desire to learn or better themselves, not just because their parents told them they had to go and all their friends were doing it.

Community colleges are also a much better value for the money than either universities or on-line programs. I think on-line courses have their place, but the quality can be really variable and it is always tougher to do something with little or no support. It is also much more likely that classes you take at the community college will be transferable to another place and program. Transferring on-line credits can be very problematic.

Whatever you choose, I wish you good luck. I am in my early 50s and am completing a Master's program, so it can be done!


(17,796 posts)
52. Thank you senpai....
Wed May 13, 2015, 01:19 PM
May 2015

currently planning on using the SUNY system. Hopefully that will help me a bit.


(68,918 posts)
42. .
Wed May 13, 2015, 11:36 AM
May 2015

Congrats! I am so glad things will now be a little bit less weighty for you. I'm rooting for you as you return to college.


(63,635 posts)
56. I went back to school at your age to finish up an undergrad degree and found what
Wed May 13, 2015, 02:48 PM
May 2015

is called an Accelerated Degree Program. I was working full time and went to class from 6-8:30 two nights a week. In 8 weeks I was done with a module. I took 4 courses the first year and 6 the second in this fashion. I loved my school. Small, a lovely campus and a very caring faculty. They let me combine my existing credits which were one half Liberal Arts and one half Fine Arts into one degree, General Studies.

I loved the school so much I went back for a Masters in Liberal Studies. I just loved the whole idea of being a grad student. I took courses in literature, art, political science, economics, Mysticism, creative writing, and history. I loved the interaction of the small classes with the professor. I wrote poetry, studied Romanticism in the Arts of the 19th Century, early American history, econ theory. It was glorious and I was actually sad when I graduated. I missed the profs and my fellow MALs students.


(17,796 posts)
65. Thank you....
Wed May 13, 2015, 08:38 PM
May 2015

will be checking in to any available programs that might help. I hope it's easier then I expect, but I would rather be ready for it to be harder just in case it is.


(63,635 posts)
77. I know I had been traumatized by algebra as a kid and the thought of it in a college course
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:11 AM
May 2015

really scared me. But I worked very hard and what I didn't really understood I simply memorized and I was able to "solve" at least the basic algebraic problems. The concept of negative numbers was one I did not easily get...


(17,796 posts)
85. I have to admit to suffering some....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:55 AM
May 2015

OK a lot, of math anxiety. I think I'll make that my first class.

If you're going to chew rocks, might as well start with the big ones first.


(63,635 posts)
87. Exactly. I wanted to get it out of the way early and then the other courses were
Thu May 14, 2015, 09:06 AM
May 2015

easy in comparison.

For the Master's program I didn't need to take the MCATs or whatever they are called. That would have involved math and I would have just not started the program. But luckily, that test was not required. I had a good enough GPA from my undergrad courses, and it was at the same school and they wanted to populate the MALS program (they offered a reduction in fees and my job at the time paid $500 per semester in tuition aid as a benefit -- that was a good deal!). I could also swim in the olympic size pool for free (reduced fee after graduation as an alum!).

vive la commune

(94 posts)
58. Congratulations!
Wed May 13, 2015, 05:01 PM
May 2015

I know what a struggle it is to try to get SSDI/SSI, and what a relief it is when it finally comes through. Pace yourself and take the school easy. As someone mentioned before, disability support services at your school is a big help.

You can get funding to go back to school through your state's vocational rehab department, too, and they can help with equipment or assistive services you may need, as well as school clothes, fees, etc. if needed. They can help you apply for a Pell Grant, and they fund tuition on top of that, too. Depending on your agency and your counselor, it can sometimes be a fight to get what you need from them, but if you perservere, you can get quite a bit of help. Speak up and fight for what you need. You can assign your Social Security "Ticket to Work" to your DVR agency--that means as long as you are working with them, you won't get a disability review.

Before I started back to school, I got myself up to speed at home on some things. I was taking a math-heavy major and had to do remedial courses before I could even qualify for some of the prerequisites. I started with a basic arithmetic book at home (Barron's Artithmetic Made Easy) and also found some stuff online to practice, re-memorized my muliplication tables, etc. before I even took the first remedial class. It helped a lot.

I would take only one class to start with. For the first two semesters, I just took one math class each so I could focus and concentrate and take all the time I needed for a good foundation. Some people suggest taking a class that's fun/easy and that you have a high motivation to finish. Personally, I liked getting the stumbling blocks out of my way first and enjoyed the confidence that brought.

Some quick tips: For good grades, half the battle is presenting things in the format the teacher requests. Show your work, write essays in the correct format, be meticulous about spell checking and proofreading. Try to get along with the teachers who are teaching your major--I kind of did badly with this myself. Don't overload your schedule with too many classes--time is your friend. Devote plenty of time to study. Get lots of rest. If you know a particular course is going to be too difficult with the rest of your classes, drop it. Balance hard classes and easy classes. Take lots of notes. Ask questions.

Good luck in your endeavors!


(17,796 posts)
67. Thank you very much!
Wed May 13, 2015, 09:05 PM
May 2015

My approval was no where near as bad as I heard it can be. But what I went through, and what I saw others going through, needs to be changed. There no reason people should be treated like that.

Getting some good advice, will have to sit down and draw up a new battle plan.



(34,582 posts)
60. I am happy for you
Wed May 13, 2015, 06:43 PM
May 2015

My wife finally got hers when she was 55, after working, most of the time two jobs, since she was 16. I won't go into all of the problems she had, but it was clear that she couldn't keep working. They denied her twice, then was allowed to get a lawyer and see a judge, who "promptly" awarded it to her. I say "promptly" because it was a 2+ year period, in which she could not work. It almost broke us. I have a good job, but I don't see how most can do it. Their goal is to starve you out. We are a heartless country.


(17,796 posts)
75. Thank goodness that I had a much easier time of it....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:06 AM
May 2015

then you or your wife. But what I went thru, and what I saw others enduring, should not happen. We have to change this system.

So I figure that I'll be reading textbooks while doing voter registration for Bernie.


(17,796 posts)
78. Thank you....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:13 AM
May 2015

Am setting up meeting with advisor to start the ball rolling. Anything that I should ask? Something that you feel people overlook or forget? Or just a piece of information that you find helpful.


(89,765 posts)
70. Whatever you do if you go online, use an actual public college. Your quality of education...
Wed May 13, 2015, 10:44 PM
May 2015

...will be better, and your cost will be massively less. Start with a community college -- they have lots to offer.



(17,796 posts)
79. Thank you....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:15 AM
May 2015

Planning on using the SUNY system, which thankfully includes a lot of excellent community colleges.


(28,645 posts)
71. congratulations.
Thu May 14, 2015, 06:10 AM
May 2015

i'll be 60 this year and finishing up my 2nd certificate course in clinical trial research; in June i'll be taking an examination to get some letters after my name! never too late to learn.
getting around disabled. i would study up on the ADA americans with disabilities. any school you attend will be bound by that law to make any area you need to go accessible.


(616 posts)
72. I did it
Thu May 14, 2015, 07:50 AM
May 2015

I was in my thirties when I returned to college. I had four children. I have had some regrets in my life, but returning to college was not one of them. Best decision that I ever made.
A couple of cautions: Choose your major well. At this stage of the game, you can't afford to waste time on majors which don't have a career future.
Be prepared to work really hard. College has to be your priority


(17,796 posts)
73. Planning on working my tail off....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:02 AM
May 2015

on the other hand, with my age, health and the fact that I'm starting 9+ years of school, a new career is not a concern.

Or maybe what I mean is that I plan on being involved in education, my own and others, the rest of my life.


(17,796 posts)
82. Thank you so much everyone.....
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:27 AM
May 2015

I can not begin to describe how much I appreciate the information, the advise, the personnel stories shared.....

I will be printing this later and nailing to the wall next to my workdesk.


(1,789 posts)
84. Happy for you!
Thu May 14, 2015, 08:44 AM
May 2015

Know the feeling, became disabled at 45, 1 child in college, one ready to go and another 2 years later.
It has been a great help to me and my family.
I could not finish my Master's, which is a great disappointment, but have had a lot of joy volunteering in my community.
Good luck with your education!


Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Small personal good news....