Great Colleges for Nontraditional Students

Are you planning on going back to college well after you graduated high school? It’s never too late! There are plenty of amazing colleges for nontraditional students out there. We cover some things you need to know about going to college as an older student and a few of the best colleges for nontraditional students below.

Colleges for nontraditional students.

What is a Nontraditional Student?

A nontraditional college student is an individual who did not attend college immediately after graduating high school. This could have been for a variety of reasons, but many nontraditional college students will have full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities that “traditional” college students tend not to have.

As a result, nontraditional students need a college that understands their responsibilities and a schedule that works with their job and family obligations. Not every college will be a good fit for these individuals, even if they’re an amazing choice for traditional students.

What Should Nontraditional Students Look for in a School?

What you look for in a school as a nontraditional college student may be very different from a recent high school graduate’s checklist. Depending on your personal situation, responsibilities, and goals, you might want to consider colleges that have

  • Flexible scheduling programs and classes
  • Online and/or hybrid courses, including recorded classes
  • Pass/fail grading rubrics if you have issues with grading anxiety
  • Focuses rather than major
  • Solid career services
  • Programs, support, and assistance for nontraditional students

 Great Colleges for Nontraditional Students

We’ve put together a list of 5 fantastic schools that are solid choices for nontraditional students.

1. Lewis-Clark State College

Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID is well known for its programs that are excellent for nontraditional students. They offer flexibility in their degree tracks, a range of academic offerings, online courses, and scholarships dedicated to students who find themselves going to college later in life.

The school accepts all that apply and was named as one of our Hidden Gem Colleges in the Rocky Mountains.

2. University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas is another fantastic choice for nontraditional students. The university has various organizations for those who find themselves going to college later in life. Some of these include Epsilon Omega Epsilon (EOE), Student Pioneers Also Raising Kids (S.P.A.R.K.), Student Veterans Association  (SVA), and Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL).

The Dallas-based college also has self-paced online study courses if you don’t want to enroll, evening classes, and free tuition for students who are 65 or older. #7 in the Southwest, the University of Texas at Dallas has an 88% first year retention rate and accepts 87% of those who apply.

3. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), found in Manchester, is an additional school to consider if you’re returning to school after the age of 23. They offer a wide variety of online programs (over 200) that have the flexibility nontraditional students need in their coursework. Classes usually only tend to last 8 weeks, and SNHU also has financial assistance programs and internships available to nontraditional students.

SNHU accepts 92.2% of applicants and over 145,000 students from all over the United States!

4. University of Utah

Based in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah offers flexible scheduling, a support system, and more to returning students. Academic advising will also meet with incoming nontraditional students to discuss transfer of any previous credits earned, majors, college planning, and more.

The university has a first year retention rate of 87%, accepts 95% of students, and is ranked #1 in the state of Utah.

5. Liberty University

Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia and has several online programs and courses available to students. In fact, a majority of programs take place all online. This makes an excellent choice for nontraditional students who don’t have time to attend classes in person. And if you started your bachelor’s degree elsewhere, Liberty allows you to transfer up to 75% of your previously earned credits.

The university accepts almost all that apply (99%), has a 79% first year retention rate, and offers financial resources to students to make college more affordable – 77% of students who attend Liberty receive institutional grants from the school.

Attending college after the age of 23 can feel daunting, but making a plan will make all the difference! It’s important to build a support system, talk to academic advisors, and identify the best schools that fit your needs and wants. The five we listed above are an excellent starting point – you may even find the perfect match in one of them!

If you’re returning to college as an adult, you may be unsure of where to start. College Raptor’s College Match tool, however, can help you identify the factors that matter to you most in a school as well as the colleges that will best serve your needs, wants, and goals. Get started for free today.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.