College isn’t just for high school seniors anymore. These days, people of all ages are starting to realize the potential benefits a college education can bring. Older students, those who are older than 24 years of age, are quickly outpacing traditionally younger aged college students on campuses nationwide. These coeds, referred to as non-traditional students, are usually older, with a job and a family to support. The different circumstances of these students present some challenges when it comes to searching for a college.
Most four-year universities and colleges require students to submit SAT and ACT scores as a requirement of admission. However, those records might not be available-if at all, for non-traditional students who have been out of school awhile. In this instance, it’s necessary for a non-traditional student to consider other college options. Those options include technical schools, community colleges and career colleges.
Technical schools are usually two-year colleges that offer specific courses. Those courses are usually geared towards labor-intensive jobs, like carpentry, welding or mechanics. Most people who attend these schools have been pre exposed to a particular job and simply want to refresh or add onto existing skills. Some technical colleges have core classes that are transferable to a four year college, most of those schools, however, have less hands-on major that are more technologically fueled.
Community colleges are usually two-year schools that offer core courses acceptable for transfer to other colleges. The main purpose of attending these schools beyond getting an Associate’s degree is transferring credits over to a four-year school. The key in choosing the best community college option is knowing why the degree is needed. If Associate’s is a stepping-stone to a Bachelor’s degree, then having a full picture of the courses the community college offers is important. If the college chosen doesn’t offer courses that are easily transferable or worthwhile, than it would be wise to choose another school.
Lastly, career colleges are an option that many non-traditional students are turning to. Career colleges are usually schools that brag a shorter period of study and early graduation options. Career colleges offer specific courses in varying subjects like Web Design, Fashion Merchandising and Culinary Arts. Many career colleges have proven to be great places to earn a degree. It’s always best to weigh the options available and tally the whole degree-not simply the cost per semester.
Although the college search options for non-traditional students are varied, some re-entry students still consider a traditional four-year college the best option for them. Many of these colleges are offering such innovations as night and weekend classes as well as online courses in order to accommodate older, busier students. This means more profits for the schools and definitely more choices for non-traditional students as well.
As of 1998, nearly 41% of all college students in the Untied States were 25 years of age or older. This means a very dramatic shift from the traditional image of a college coed. More and more ‘adult’ students are realizing that along with the sacrifice and time it takes to earn a post secondary degree comes the reward of higher earnings and greater career opportunities.