Addiction Recovery - Sobriety

Going Back to College After Rehab

When you leave an addiction center, you might decide you want to attend college. The Forge Recovery Center will walk you through this complex process.

Going Back to College After Rehab

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

July 27, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

After you have completed drug rehab, you can start chasing your dreams again. The treatment process may have put your life on hold, but it may also have given you a clearer purpose and direction.

If the life path you envision for yourself includes college, you may feel daunted by the process. By breaking the process into small, manageable steps, you can better see how to begin working toward your education goals.

Here are a few steps to get you started.

Step 1. Have a Goal

Not all career choices involve college, of course, and not everyone who attends college does so with a specific career in mind. Although, you can begin working toward many college-related careers by choosing a relevant major. Ideally, your major would be in a subject you enjoy spending a lot of time studying because that is what you will be doing.

Step 2. Find a Program

Once you have decided what to major in, you will need to research colleges with reputable programs that can get you the job you want. Here are some things to consider when researching schools:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation can affect your ability to get federal student aid, transfer credits to a different college, and be hired by employers after graduation. A college that is not properly accredited may make these things more difficult or even impossible, so you will likely want to avoid those schools.

  • Program rankings: Not all college programs are made the same. Researching how their programs rank in your chosen field of study may help determine whether a college’s program is worth your time and money.

  • Alumni Resources: Many colleges have alumni networks that can help you after graduation. An active and relevant network may help you find jobs in your field of study.

Step 3. Understand How Much Time You Have for School

You may not be able to attend college full-time. School is stressful and understanding what boundaries you need to set to ensure you remain healthy while going to school is crucial. Not only will keeping your academic load manageable help you stay sober, but it will also help you have an enjoyable college experience.

If you are prepared to return to school full-time, plenty of options, including online programs, allow for a flexible schedule, which would allow you to attend outpatient rehab or other support groups.

Many colleges will accommodate your needs if you want to go back to school in person or online on a part-time or full-time schedule. Although, this is not a guarantee, and it is vital to research the flexibility of programs you are considering.

For example, some colleges require you to live on campus for the first year or two of your education and require a full-time schedule. Others will allow you to attend school remotely or be on campus part-time to receive your degree.

Knowing the time and energy you have to put into school will help you make the best decision when choosing a program.

Step 4. Apply

Once you have narrowed down your choices, it is time to apply. It is important to research when application deadlines are, as some schools have strict deadlines while others accept students on a rolling basis. Knowing when your application must be submitted will help you manage your time and ensure your best chances of getting accepted.

Additionally, you will likely have to write personal essays while applying to colleges. These personal essays are meant for the admissions boards to get to know you better, as they want to ensure their college campus remains diverse. When writing your essays, do not be ashamed of your addiction or any other challenging life events that have occurred in your life.

Admissions boards like to see people who have overcome challenges, and in some cases, some schools offer financial aid for people recovering from substance use disorders.

Before applying, you may want to reach out to an admissions counselor to ensure you have everything you need for your application. This is also an excellent time to ask about financial aid and the resources the school can provide you to assist your academic experience.

Step 5. Apply for Financial Aid

One of the biggest worries you may have when it comes to college is whether or not you can afford it. Fortunately, there are options for grants and loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once you have been accepted into college, you can apply for FAFSA, and financial aid counselors will be available at your school to assist you in the process.

You may be ineligible to receive some forms of financial aid if you were convicted of a drug-related charge. Often this does not disqualify you unless you were charged while receiving FASFA in the past. If this is the case, you may be able to renew your eligibility by passing two random drug tests or completing rehab. If you can meet one of these two options to restore your eligibility, you should let your financial aid office know as soon as possible so that you can receive funds. 

If you qualify for FAFSA, you must stay clean while you are in school. If you are charged with a drug-related crime, you will not only lose your eligibility, but depending on the charge, you may also have to return any funds you received.

Get Prepared for a Drug-Free Life with The Forge Recovery Center!

At The Forge Recovery Center, we are here to cheer you on. Completing rehab and continuing your recovery journey is an excellent opportunity for you to chase your dreams and build a life you enjoy. While college may be a fun or simply necessary experience for some people, it can also be incredibly stressful.

Continuing treatment on a part-time basis while in school can help you avoid your stress leading to a relapse. Our expertly trained staff are well-versed in helping individuals recovering from a substance abuse disorder manage cravings and burnout.

The medications and therapies provided in our treatment programs can help you manage your symptoms and share your struggles as you move on to the next chapter of your life. If you are wondering what treatment options are available to you while you continue your education, contact The Forge Recovery Center today.

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