What does non Traditional student mean?

To know What does non Traditional student mean…Read on this article….!

Due to circumstances beyond his control, Jose did not start attending college immediately after completing high school. He is now thinking of getting enrolled but keeps wondering if he falls into the criteria for the non traditional student, and needs someone to guide him.

What does non Traditional student mean?

Can you be that one? Read to learn how you can help, should you have one like joe tomorrow.

Overview of Non traditional Students

Non traditional college student generally refer to student who do not resume college school as soon as they just finished high school, unlike those students who start going to college immediately after finishing high school.

In some cases, the term can refer to newbies to college or university who have grown past the age or similar situation of the majority of their mates. 

Non-traditional students may be individuals who achieved their GED late, former caregivers desiring to join the workforce, failed business persons contemplating joining other lines of businesses or professions, or even persons using physically challenged individuals.

It may at some other times mean students that have married before entering college or have full-time employment to enable them to assist their family members at such same time they are considering resuming college.

This set of students may have had to work or face other family situations that can sometimes make attending college at the right time or full-time hard.

And to make life easier for themselves and their families pick up full-time jobs to provide for their families. Hence, can only afford to enroll in college on a part-time or occasional basis, 

They do not often live in campus hostels, unlike some others, that are usually free to commit a good portion of their time to full-time classes and campus activities.

We should understand nontraditional students simply as the name that can apply to the set of students in college or university who resume university or college studies under various unfriendly circumstances that cannot allow them to have done so at an earlier undergraduate age or immediately after completing high school.

Nontraditional students can be called other names

  • Adult students
  • Adult learners
  • Lifelong learners
  • Older students
  • Old geezers.

Criteria For Identifying Nontraditional Students 

Although a nontraditional student may mean different things to different people depending on what category of students is involved. This article refers a nontraditional students means as those students whose circumstances may fall within one or more of the following criteria:

  • Enrolling into college over the age of 25.
  • Re-enrolling into college after a few years break from attending college.
  • Graduating from high school and going directly into the workforce before is now attending college for the first time.
  • Not having a high school diploma
  • Having a spouse, children, and elderly family members that dependent on him before entering college.
  • Attending part-time in most cases during the academic year.
  • Working as a full-time employee while attending college at the same time.
  • Considered financially independent in the event of being considered eligible for financial support.

Challenges Faced By A Nontraditional Student

Returning to school as a nontraditional student can be more challenging than it is for younger students for the reasons outlined earlier. Some of these challenges include:

• Financial challenges (because of such reasons as housing, parenting, family health insurance)

• Transitioning to college life ( difficulty faced while finding classes on the first day to creating sleep and study routine)

• Homesickness (resulting from not having friends as newbies they are) 

• Being independent ( such as having to do most of the things like laundry alone)

How Schools Can Support

For these reasons given earlier schools can provide support by:

• Providing means of low transportation cost to and from the students’ homes to ease the cost of accessing classes. 

• Providing elevator buildings for when scheduling classes with a significant senior population.

• Making restroom facilities as closer and as comfortable as possible. 

 Offering classes on the use of computers to small groups of affected students so that they might get the training that they need to succeed in a university setting

Nontraditional Students Strengths

Even though nontraditional students do have challenges, however, they also have advantages to combat those challenges, this includes:

  • Experience ( from work, and personal life that can help them be successful at teamwork or in other engagements that require communication)
  • Problem Solving Skill (as he has been solving problems on the job in their careers which younger students may not have)
  • Motivation (They often have a higher level of motivation than younger students)

How Going Back To School Can Benefit Them

Regardless of the criteria that define a nontraditional student, such a student can benefit in many ways.

  • Education can improve their knowledge
  • Education is refreshing 
  • It creates a thirst that was not active in them for years.
  • It can be very healthy to use the brain.
  • It contributes to improvements in body circulation and memory functions. 
  • Going to class and socializing with others in a new environment can be beneficial,
  •  Opportunity to make new friends.
  • College classrooms can be a place where younger students can learn from the considerable life experiences of their elder classmates.


No doubt, having followed this article carefully, you now have a better understanding of what nontraditional students mean, their challenges, benefits, and ways schools can support them while in college. There is no doubt that you will make the most use of the gains of this article, especially when someone within the criterion of a nontraditional student may approach you for advice

Frequently Asked Questions
  •  Can I go back to school at any convenient time or a later age?


  • What am I when entering college at over 25 years of age?

Nontraditional student.

  •  Can I receive support from my school as a nontraditional student?


  • Can I call an undergraduate a graduate student?


  • What challenges can I face as a nontraditional student?
  • Financial challenges 
  • Transitioning to college. 
  • Homesickness
  • Being independent