Non-traditional students are becoming a common sight at more and more universities, but they still face some stigma and untrue beliefs that can make it more difficult for them than for other students to be successful in school. Here are four faulty beliefs about non-traditional students to clear up some of the misconceptions about them and why becoming a non-traditional student yourself might actually be a good action to take.
1. Non-Traditional Students Aren’t Eligible for Financial Aid
Many prospective non-traditional students think that they are almost sure to be turned down for federal financial aid and aren’t eligible for scholarships, as scholarships are, on the whole, geared towards high school students looking to go to college.
The reality is, there are plenty of scholarships offered specifically to people wanting to go back to school. Many non-traditional students are also eligible for FAFSA aid. Your company might even be willing to pay for some of your new degree if it will be beneficial to your career with them.
2. They Won’t “Fit In”
Non-traditional students are often frightened that they won’t “fit in” amongst younger, traditional college students. This is not true either: while greater age gaps can make relationships with your fellow students harder to cultivate, if you’re willing to put the time and effort into getting to know them, these relationships are certainly possible.
If you’re worried about adapting to new technology and teaching techniques, you can get assistance and teach yourself about these things in order to catch up. If this all truly concerns you and you really want to be among learners your own age, you can take night classes or other programs specifically geared towards non-traditional students.
3. It’s Impossible to Go Back to School
Not truly impossible, of course. Of course schools will take students who meet their requirements. But practically, it’s often assumed it’s very difficult, if not outright impossible, to go back to school after you’ve been out and working for some time.
While it can be difficult to get yourself back into the mindset of a student again, if you truly want to go back to school and earn a degree, you can work to make it happen, just like many others have done.
4. Online/Blended Classes Are Not as Challenging
Many non-traditional students attend online classes or a hybrid of online and classroom learning due to the lesser cost and greater flexibility these learning options offer. There’s a misconception that online degrees are easier and less legitimate.
It used to be true that online degrees were largely offered by for-profit institutions that didn’t have a lot of credibility, but that has changed drastically in recent years, with more and more traditional colleges offering online and hybrid options. These options are just as challenging and respected as if you’d attended that college traditionally. And online degrees are offered in a wide range of subjects as well, from an online RN to MSN degree to your standard MBA.
With these myths debunked, you should hopefully feel better about making the decision to go back to school. Adults become non-traditional students for any number of reasons, and no non-traditional student should let these misconceptions prevent them from going back to school and obtaining the degree of their dreams.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty.