Community college offers a wonderful alternative to traditional four-year colleges and universities in many ways. Not only are community college degrees generally much more affordable, but the programs themselves are also very flexible. Many community colleges offer online classes, which are particularly beneficial for non-traditional students, including parents and students who work full-time jobs. Keep reading to learn more about non-traditional students in community colleges and tips for success.
What is a Non-Traditional Student?
College students come in various packages, but most students fall into the same categories regarding age and lifestyle. However, there are some major differences among the student body when it comes to community colleges versus four-year colleges and universities. Community colleges tend to attract more “non-traditional” students, but what does that mean? According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), seven characteristics are commonly seen in students who qualify as “non-traditional” – here they are:
- I didn’t go to college right after graduating from high school
- Attending college part-time instead of full-time
- Working a full-time job while in school
- Being financially independent of parents and family
- Having children or other dependents
- Being a single parent
- Having a GED rather than a high school diploma
Of course, not all non-traditional students fit all these criteria, but you only need one to be grouped in this category. However, you may be surprised to learn how common non-traditional students are at the undergraduate level as a whole – it is close to 75% of all undergraduate students fall into at least