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by Abigail Van Buren

Better Late Than Never to Pursue College Degree

DEAR ABBY: I would like to comment on the letter from "Jack of All Trades," who feels he is at a dead end because he has only a G.E.D.

I work for a college. Many of the students who come through our doors have G.E.D.s. We test the students to place them in classes for their level of learning.

"Jack" can get a degree, and he is never too old to start. Many older people are entering college for the first time today. He shouldn't hesitate. New classes begin all year long. -- BEVERLY P., WICHITA, KAN.

DEAR BEVERLY: I hope "Jack" sees this column, because many people reached out to help him. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I was in "Jack's" shoes at one time. I had little education, no family and no direction.

It took determination to change my situation. I was married to an abusive man, had quit high school in 10th grade and had very little family support. I decided at 25 that it was time to take back my life.

I went to night school to get my G.E.D., then went on to college for eight years. After receiving my B.A. degree, I left my abusive marriage, landed a great job, and today I'm enrolled in an MBA program.

Good luck, "Jack"! You can do it. -- FINALLY EDUCATED IN TAMPA

DEAR FINALLY EDUCATED: It's success stories like yours that inspire others.

DEAR ABBY: This is in reply to the 32-year-old "Jack" who feels he has done nothing with his life. Sooooo? The average healthy American is living 80 or more years, which means "Jack" has about 50 to go. Now more than ever, nontraditional students are going to college for the first time. A college adviser is there to help in areas of financial aid and selecting a major -- and support groups such as SOS (Student Opportunity Services) help nontraditional students adjust to college life. -- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, BILLINGS, MONT.

DEAR BT/DT: Thank you for your helpful suggestions.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Jack of All Trades" really hit home. I, too, struggled with everything. It turned out I have attention deficit disorder (ADD). My life is now changed and, at 35, I am back in college. I'm learning and growing in every way and every day. I can also sleep at night. -- RON IN TOPEKA

DEAR RON: You have made an excellent point. A person who has difficulty concentrating or is disorganized should be evaluated for ADD.