College Prep for Nontraditional Students

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College Prep for Nontraditional Students

Nontraditional students comprise 58% of students taking college courses these days. This percentage continues to grow.


To be considered a nontraditional undergraduate, you may:

  • Not immediately continue your education after you graduate from high school
  • Attend college only part time
  • Work full time (35 hours or more per week)
  • Be financially independent
  • Have children or dependents other than your spouse
  • Be a single parent
  • Have a GED, not a high school diploma

Believe it or not, 75% of all undergraduate students have a least one of these characteristics and are thus "nontraditional" in some way.


Nontraditional students interested in going to college should keep the following in mind:

  • More education leads to more job opportunities and higher salary. You can do it!
  • If you are working, you may be eligible for employer-paid tuition reimbursement. Talk to your employer to find out what's available.

The College Outlook

The world of higher education is adapting to the increasing number of nontraditional students. When looking at your educational options, focus on the aspects that give you the most flexibility:

  • Do you work a full-time job? Look into night or weekend classes.
  • Need a babysitter? Check if the school offers child care… on-campus child care is becoming more and more common.
  • Caring for other dependents? Consider taking classes that combine online and in-class instruction, reducing the amount of time you are away from home.

Everyone's situation is unique. Take a look at the big picture and make sure you are comfortable with whatever school or program you choose to pursue.

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