Some 30 percent of college students drop out in the first year, according to the Department of Education's most recent statistics, and an astonishing 50 percent never finish at all. Students begin a college career with the full intention of a timely four-year completion, however, for many, graduation never comes. Fortunately, colleges and universities encourage students to return to college and complete a degree at any time. Many schools offer extensive support to returning students who often find college more manageable the second time around because they are more prepared for the challenges after some time in the real world.

Step 1

Organize previous school records, including a comprehensive list of courses completed and credits earned then contact the college or university for enrollment instructions. If credits were previously earned from a separate institution, contact the institution to have official transcripts sent.

Step 2

Organize a time-management plan. Returning students often have full-time jobs, children and several other responsibilities. Adding course work to an already busy schedule can be overwhelming without proper time management. Consider how much time can honestly be dedicated to school without sacrificing other obligations. Consider the possiblity of taking night classes or online coursework to meet the demands of a busy schedule. Choose course work accordingly.

Step 3

Speak to an advisor at the college or university. An advisor can compare previous coursework to current requirements to determine the number of credits needed to graduate. The advisor can also establish a graduation plan outlining the necessary coursework for each semester.

Step 4

Contact a financial aid advisor to create a tuition payment plan. Ask the advisor for grants and scholarships that are available to returning students.

Step 5

Enroll in and complete all necessary coursework to complete the degree and graduate.