I'm the mom of 3 beautiful girls ages 5-12.
Hi and welcome! I'm Michaelann, our cl here. I'm a 33 year old mom of 2 (12 and 9). I went back to school when I was 30 after ten years as a stay at home mom. I am currently working toward both my BS in Geology and my teaching credential.
Our school had admissions advisers that would meet with people prior to enrolling to help them with the process. So I'd look into that.
Some schools are very affordable, especially community colleges. In district students only paid about $100 per class (I was out of district and paid about $300 per class) Mine also excepted payment plans, so you didn't pay your tuition all at once, but in 3 payments throughout the semester. You can also look into financial aid. My husband makes too much to qualify for anything, so I don't have any experience with it, but some of the other ladies here might be able to give you some info on that.
I don't know much about the medical field (other than all pre-nursing/med/pharmacy students in my science classes), so I'm not sure what types of schools or degrees you'd start looking into for medical admin/office type stuff. Again, hopefully some of our other moms will have some answers there.
Congrats on considering going back to school!
"Does a college advisor help people that are in my situation or are they only for students that are already signed up with that school?"
Most schools have an admissions counselor that can go over all of your options with you. I'd check with the admissions staff at your local colleges.
"Not even sure I can afford to do this..."Almost all the time, you can qualify for loans. While no one wants to HAVE to take out loans, it's a good idea to weigh it against how long it would take you to save up for tuition. In my case, I would have had to wait 10 years to save up the money ;) Also, many schools offer payment plans.
"I don't think I have quite the discipline for online just yet."Online's not for everyone. I finished my undergraduate degree online because I had to continue to work full-time while going to school. If I had taken on-ground classes instead of online, I would have had a great deal of difficulty scheduling classes and it would have taken me YEARS longer. So it my case, it worked out very well. I'm in a graduate program right now and it's a blended program with online classes, annual in-person workshops, and internships in one's local community.
If you have any other questions, just ask!
There are people that will talk to you without you being enrolled yet. They can probably also direct you to additional info about the fields you are considering & provide an idea of what type of classes and schedule to expect.
Mom to DD16, DD10 & DS8