I've never been to college and I don't know where to start

So I’m 25 years old and I never went to college before. I barley graduated high school because of a couple of failed suicide attempts which made me miss a lot of classes which made my GPA go down to a 2.9. I didn’t think I was going to live this long to be honest so I never thought about a career. I’ve been working as an optician for about 1.5 years now and before that I just kind of worked retail every holiday season. Opticians in Indiana don’t make a lot of money and I’m tired of living in poverty. If I’m not going to die then I want to make a good life for myself. I have never even applied to college before so I have no idea where to start and where I can apply to.

So my questions are
If I decide to go to IU Bloomington would I have a chance at getting in?
GPA 2.9 (Graduated in 2014)
I never took the SATs but IU Bloomington has a placement test now.
Also has anyone taken the placement test? If so was it difficult?
Am I supposed to write an essay when I apply to colleges? None of my friends ever went to college so I honestly do not know if this is something people actually do.
I want to go to IU Bloomington because I’m interested in their East Asian Language and Culture major. I wanted to focus on Korean language and history. I’ve been learning Korean in my free time from my sisters husband who is Korean.

I don’t really want to go to a community college because I know what I want to study and they do not offer those courses. I also feel like going to community college would be a waste of time and money if I’m not studying what I want to study. I’m not sure though, would it help my chances of getting into IU?

Please any advice or your own stories would really help.
I’m all on my own and I just don’t know where to start.

Thank you so much for reading this

“IU Bloomington has a placement test”

Have you called them and talked to admissions?

What will you do with that degree?

IU Bloomington isn’t requiring the SAT for admissions right now, so that’s in your favor. Your GPA from high school is very low for them. You should also check to see if you took the classes in HS that IU requires for admission: https://admissions.indiana.edu/apply/freshman/step-one-get-ready.html

You can apply to IU Bloomington, but know that you may not get in right now. If you do not, then go to community college first. Once you have two semesters of cc classes under your belt, apply to UI again. The advantage of applying to IU after taking a year of cc classes is that IU will no longer look at your HS record at all - they’ll only look at your college classes. Since you are in a much better place than you were when you were in HS, you’ll probably see your college grades go way up, so this is an advantage to you.

If you go to cc before you to go IU, then at the cc, take the general classes you’ll need at any uni, including at IU. So English, math, then also things like history, and things of that nature. The advisor at the cc should be able to help you pick classes that are likely to transfer easily to IU. And no, the cc won’t offer your major - you’ll just be taking the general classes there, and building a good GPA so you’re able to get into IU.

You have been out of school for a while, and you don’t have a good HS GPA. I would recommend that you start with just one or two classes at your local CC this spring. You will need to have general education classes for your degree at IU, so you might as well get those classes on the cheap at a CC.

Get in touch with the people at IU who are responsible for Non Traditional Age Students. They are experts at helping people like you work through the options. https://admissions.indiana.edu/apply/adult.html Ask them about enrolling as a non-degree student part time just for the Korean language classes. That would let you get used to college slowly.

Since you have been studying Korean privately, you should ask the Korean department at IU about a language placement test.

You also should speak with the Transfer Advisor at the community college closest to where you live. That person is expert at helping students at that CC transfer successfully into the best places for themselves. They help you find out which courses at that CC will transfer directly into IU Bloomington, and what articulation agreements (guaranteed transfer agreements) exist between IU and the CC. https://transfer.iu.edu/before-you-transfer/Articulation%20Agreements.html

Wishing you all the best as you launch into this new adventure!

Do you live near Bloomington and would commute, or would you need to move?
(Logistics is another issue that returning students have to deal with - obviously you’re not going to live in freshman dorms with teenagers).

Take a few classes at community college: freshman composition plus another class. Try to pay out of pocket if you can (or see if you’re eligible for State grants.) DO NOT take loans, you’ll need them for IU. The goal will be for you to reacclimate to being a student, being in class, the joys of learning but also the hard work it can be + building a college GPA. Once you have a college GPA, as previously mentioned, your HS GPA doesn’t matter. Try to get A’s - that means going to office hours (professors don’t stick around to chat, you must go see them during office hours. You bring questions you had while listening to the lecture, for instance, or parts of the text you highlighted and starred because you don’t quite understand them…) and going to the Writing Center, Tutoring Center… to go from that B+ to A :slight_smile:

You apply to IU with these grades. My recommendation is to apply for Korean major/business minor. It’ll make you a hot commodity ;).

From a practical point of view: CC is cheap and all you have to do is fill out your basics (name, address, etc).
From CC to IU, you’ll need to follow the Transfer Adviser’s advice, but typically you use the online application and explain in an essay why you want to study what you want to study and why at IU + stories about your life that make you look resilient, interesting, etc. Don’t hesitate to ask more questions.
IF the Adult applicant adviser at IU tells you that you can apply straightaway, add this to this thread and we’ll help step by step.

BTW have you read Frankly in Love? (YA novel about a Korean American community and the titular Frank-Li trying to navigate Korean traditions and American education).