Have you decided that going back to school is the right choice for you? That’s awesome! You probably have a few questions about getting started as a non-traditional student. We rounded up some common questions to get you started. If you have any other questions specific to your situation, a member of our admissions staff would be happy to help!
Q: Do I need to complete a FAFSA?
A: Yes. No matter what your age or career stage when you decide to go back to school, you should definitely complete a FAFSA. This will allow you to discover options for federal aid to apply to your cost of education. You shouldn’t assume that you are ineligible for aid even if you work full-time or if you are planning on being a part-time student. Your FAFSA is based on your previous year’s tax information and does not take long to complete. When completing your FAFSA, be sure to avoid the common mistakes that TurboTax highlights in this infographic.
Q: How much time do I need to set aside to be successful?
A: There is no universal answer for this question, and it will vary greatly based on the degree field and number of classes you have selected. However, on average, students can expect to spend two to three hours of study time for each hour that they spend in class. At South College, we operate on a quarter system that condenses our degree programs to get you started in your career faster, sometimes this may contribute to a more rigorous study schedule.
Q: Will my previous college credits transfer?
A: This will depend on a couple of different factors. First, it will depend on what degree you have chosen as you head back to school. If your previous credits were from courses that can apply to the course of study for your new degree, then the likelihood of the credits counting toward your degree is much higher. Second, factor in the grade you received in your previously completed courses. As a general rule, you must have had a C or higher for credits to transfer (this will vary based on institution and degree field). Finally, certain areas of study will require that your previous courses be completed within a certain time constraint or sequence as being up to date is vital to certain fields. Don’t forget to learn about the accreditation of your previous institution as this will play an important role as well.
Q: Am I at a disadvantage as a non-traditional student?
A: No, not at all. Non-traditional students are a vital piece of the modern day higher education puzzle. At South College, we believe that your life experiences as a non-traditional student have equipped you in unique ways for success in pursuing a degree.
At South College, 58 percent of our students are between the ages of 25 and 40 years old. Not only do we think non-traditional students are ready for success – we know they are a huge part of our success! If you are ready to go back to school or change your career with a degree, today is the day to give our admissions office a call at (865) 251-1800.