It’s almost easier to define a traditional student, and if you don’t qualify for that, then you likely possess some characteristics of a nontraditional student! A traditional student is one who enters college within a year of high school graduation and whose primary focus is earning a college degree.
Why does it make a difference? Your situation as a nontraditional student may mean you are financially independent, which dramatically changes your financial aid outlook. If you have a child or are working full time, you have different sets of challenges.
- How much will a college degree cost and how do you plan to pay for it?
- Is your family supportive of your educational goals?
- If you already have a job, will further education increase your chances of promotion?
- Is time management your strength? Can you balance school, work and family responsibilities all at once?
- Do you plan on working while earning your degree or can you afford to take a few years off to study? If you decide to work, will your employer allow you to attend day classes or study during working hours?
It’s worth the effort though! The research is clear that you are likely to make more money and be more satisfied with your work responsibilities when you’ve gone to college. Although you may feel a bit lonely, you are one of many nontraditional students. In fact, about one-fourth of all college students are nontraditional.