Going Back to School as a Nontraditional Student: Why It's Never Too Late

Picture of Going Back to School as a Nontraditional Student: Why It's Never Too Late

When looking at the possibility of going back to school as a nontraditional student, it's important not to let apprehension keep you from moving forward and achieving your goals. Here are a few common concerns of potential nontraditional students that actually aren't as problematic as they might seem.

Balancing Work and School as a Nontraditional Student

More often than not, those considering going back to school worry that they won't be able to strike a workable balance between education and their existing work lives. This can be difficult, especially for those who work 9-5 jobs during the week. However, this is a problem that can usually be solved without too much trouble. Firstly, understand that there's no reason you have to be a full-time student. Many people think that going back to school means taking on a full course load. While this is a good idea for those who have the time to do it, not everyone's schedule will be flexible enough to allow for full-time studies. If you have to study on a part-time basis, it's alright, so long as you are progressing with your courses and working toward your education. Night and weekend classes and online courses can also be great options for those with difficult schedules.

Attending Classes with Much Younger Students

A majority of nontraditional students will find the idea of sitting in classes with 18 and 19 year old students to be intimidating. For many, attending classes with young students simply makes them feel uncomfortable and out of place. While this is a completely understandable reaction, you should keep in mind that that perception is almost exclusively in your own mind. In all reality, the younger students in your classes will probably take note of the fact that you aren't in their own age demographic and then will think nothing more of it. Don't worry too much about it, as you'll find that once your classes begin your age makes practically no difference inside the classroom.

Financing Your Studies

People who are going back to college after taking some years off following high school often find themselves worried about paying for their future education. While this is certainly a concern, returning to school as a nontraditional student is actually no more expensive than attending college right after high school. If you've worked, paid bills, and established credit, you may even find that you have a wider range of options when it comes to borrowing money to put toward your education.

Fear of Failure as a Nontraditional Student

Many non-traditional students worry about the possibility of not thriving in an educational environment after years or even decades out of school. However, the only way you can find out if you'll do well or not is to try. Not furthering your education guarantees that you will never be able to succeed with it. If you want to go back to school, do it and try your hardest. If you really put yourself into it, there's no reason you can't succeed and thrive in the classroom.


While these are not the only concerns that affect nontraditional students, they are some of the most common. If you have decided to go back to school after taking several years off, keeping these few things in mind can help you to get started out well and with a positive attitude. Above all, remember to enjoy your studies. Going to college can be one of the most rewarding experience of your life, so get everything you can out of it.

This article was written for you by a member of the California Coast University staff. Do you have a question, comment or an idea for an article? Email: [email protected]

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