Non-Traditional Students Starting College

by Khadijah Ali-Coleman - Date: 2007-03-27 - Word Count: 423 Share This!

The idea of college is a huge step for any high school student. It's a gigantic step for those who are full-fledged adults juggling a job, parenting and the every day adventures of being a grown-up. Though the transition to becoming a college student can seem tricky and not as seamless as it may seem for someone coming straight out of high school, it is easier than you think.

Define your outcomes
What is the reason or reasons you want to begin a college program? Does your current job require a degree to offer advancement? Do you want to enter a new field? Have you always been interested in certain discipline and now have the time and the courage to pursue it? Make sure you know what your reasons are for applying to school and beginning a college career. Defining your outcomes will provide you with guidance as you pursue your course of study.

Apply to colleges that have class options you can work with
If you want to start college but know that you won't be able to devote day or evening hours to attend class because of work or other obligations, see if your college of choice has alternative options. Many colleges nowadays offer courses on-line or courses that meet once a week or less. Also, learn if your college and program of choice accepts work experience as college credit. As a non-traditional student, you have a wealth of experience and knowledge that may be applicable to the course of study you are pursuing.

Get connected with campus resources
Once you apply and are accepted to your college of choice, make sure that you become acquainted with the services available on campus to support student success. Knowing the college's services and supports beforehand may impact your decision to attend the school. Many, if not all of these services are free and typically flexible to accommodate the busiest schedule. At Morgan State University located in Baltimore, Maryland, the school's Office of Retention has a free program for parenting students called IOP (Improved Opportunities for Parents) and created a program called Weekend University where non-traditional students can attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) has Student Support Services (SSS) which connects students with free tutors and other assistance they may need to excel academically. Most schools have these services free for their students. It serves you well to research and become acquainted with them early on.

Khadijah Ali-Coleman, M.A. is a college administrator and founder of So Our Youth Aspire (S.O.Y.A.), LLC.

Related Tags: education, students, career, high, college, school, apply, admissions, studying, transition, resource, campus, non-traditional, khadijah, ali, coleman

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