Are you a non-traditional student? While there is no single definition for a non-traditional student in college, generally part-time status and age are common elements. For the most part, non-traditional students fit one or more of the following categories: delayed college enrollment; attends college part time; works full-time while enrolled in school; considered financially independent for financial aid purposes; has dependents other than a spouse; is a single parent, and may not have a high school diploma, but completed with a GED or other completion certificate.
The needs of a non-traditional student entering college are very different from a traditional student. A non-traditional student may have delayed enrolling in college in order to be employed and save money. A non-traditional student may not have been sure of the path they wanted to take after high school, and so chose to go directly into the work force. Whatever your reason for putting off college enrollment, you should be aware that, statistically, you have a great chance of success in pursing a postsecondary education degree. As an older college student you have different and more mature goals, focus, and life experiences than a traditional 18-year-old beginning college. You will be more apt to treat college like a job. You’ll show up for classes and do the assigned work. You’re mature enough to prioritize, and can juggle study time, tests, your work, and your personal life.
Most colleges and universities have programs geared specifically towards the non-traditional student, and they want to help you succeed. This section of the Fund My Future Website is geared towards helping non-traditional students find funding for college. Be sure to explore all available resources for non-traditional student financial aid, including scholarships geared specifically towards the non-traditional student.