Being a Nontraditional Student and Working

A Non-traditional Student can be qualified as anyone who meets the following requirements:

* Attends school part-time for at least part of the academic year
* Anyone who works a full-time job (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled in school
* Anyone who has dependents other than a spouse (usually children)
* Anyone who is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents)
* Someone who does not have a High School Diploma but has completed a GED
* Someone who does not enter college the same calendar year that they graduated
* Someone who is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid

Here are some helpful tips that may work for you if you fall in this category:

* Make sure that your job will not affect your school. Talk to your employer and make sure that they will be flexible with your schedule since you are a college student.
* Try to select classes that you feel comfortable with, meet with your adviser and ask for their input. After all that is what they are there for
* Depending on your age you may want to find a roommate or even move back home for a bit (especially during these economic times).
* Make sure you put enough time and thought into a school schedule, work schedule and most importantly a rest schedule. You definitely need to make sure you have great time management skills.
* Plan to succeed. As long as you can put your mind to it, you are guaranteed to succeed.

Not without challenges

Before anyone starts thinking that the presence of nontraditional students is some sort of jackpot for higher education, keep in mind that they often bring extra baggage to campus. Unlike the traditional students, where the occasional problems might include binge drinking or excessive rowdiness, nontraditional students bring entirely new issues with which college and university administrators must contend.

According to a recent national report titled “Pathways to Success,” the most significant challenge is retention. One of the three defining characteristics (the other two are age and socioeconomic background) of a nontraditional student is the presence of an at-risk factor, such as working full-time, raising a child as a single parent or lacking a traditionally earned high school diploma.

But with those useful tips from above you can overcome these challenges. Plan to win!

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