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5 Reasons Why Non-Traditional Students Can Excel in the Classroom

Jul 15, 2017 | Harrison College

5 Reasons Why Non-Traditional Students Can Excel in the Classroom

If you’re not fresh out of high school, going to college can seem pretty intimidating. But is this feeling for non-traditional students warranted? Sure, you might be a little rusty with some of the subjects covered in high school, but that’s no reason to give up on pursuing an education. In fact, there are plenty of good reasons why non-traditional students can do more than just survive college. They can thrive in college.

If you are a would-be non-traditional student feeling unsure of yourself, we’ve come up with five reasons you should feel confident heading into your first college class.

5 advantages non-traditional students have in college

1. They are driven

Every year, thousands of high school students enroll in college only to drop out by the end of their first year. Their reasons for not continuing vary, but for some of those students it simply comes down to motivation. The good news? Non-traditional students don’t typically have that problem. They have spent time working in the “real world” and often have their sights set on earning a degree to achieve a specific career goal, instead of attending just because it seems like what their parents want them to do.

When you have a clear goal in mind, the motivation for completing assignments and staying up on required readings is much easier to find.

2. They’re not alone

No matter what you might see on television or in movies, it’s important to know that college is not just the domain of people under the age of 25. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics states that in 2014 there were approximately 8.2 million students who were aged 25 years or older, compared to approximately 12 million students in the 18–24 year age range.

While the ratio of non-traditional to traditional students will vary quite a bit depending on the institution, it’s safe to say there will be plenty of other students in the same boat as you. So don’t be shy. Reach out and connect with your fellow students. You just might be surprised how many of your peers share a similar background with you.

3. They have “real-world” experience to apply

Do you remember the first time you had to file your own taxes? Or wrap your head around the health insurance claims system? While it may have been a challenge navigating this unfamiliar territory, you still managed to figure it out. The time you’ve spent learning to “adult” is valuable. Non-traditional students have proven their ability to seek out more information and ask questions outside of academic life. This willingness to take the initiative is a fantastic foundation upon which to build an academic career.

Not only that, but your life experiences can help put what you learn into context. Theory becomes easier to grasp if you have encountered examples of it in your personal life.

4. They have plenty of support

It might feel intimidating to take the leap and enroll in college as a non-traditional student, but don’t be fooled into thinking no one is there to help if you stumble. Many schools offer a variety of support systems designed to ensure students remain successful. Harrison College provides students with support services that cover everything from academic issues to dealing with unexpected life events.

5. They’ve mastered having multiple responsibilities

Life obviously wasn’t put on hold for the students who chose to enter the workforce after high school. They’ve had bills to pay, homes to maintain and children to raise — and for many — multiple work schedules to balance. All of that takes skill and resiliency, both of which will come in handy when it’s time to add education into the mix.

Non-traditional students have plenty of reason to be confident — they’ve devoted plenty of time to keeping their lives on track as the world throws curveballs their way. If you can handle the unexpected, you should feel great about taking on a new, expected challenge.

Ready to excel?

Make no mistake, earning a college degree takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The good news is that this is true for all students — just because you might not fit the conventional mold of a college student does not mean you can’t succeed. If you feel up to the challenge, check out some of the programs Harrison College has to offer!

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