By Sarah Wright
The social transition from being a parent or professional to being a student can be just as difficult as the academic and practical transition. McLennan Community College, located in Waco, TX, has a Non-Traditional Student Association that offers social events like movie nights, parties and group outings to sporting events. The Non-Traditional Student Association also provides guidance for things like financial aid and the specific academic needs of a non-traditional student. Resources like this can be a great opportunity for returning students to get the extra help, support and attention they need to succeed.
Baton Rouge Community College wants to make adult and other non-traditional students feel welcome. As a result, the school offers classes on a flexible schedule, including early-morning and weekend classes, so you might be able to keep a job or look after your kids while still going to school. If, as a returning student, you would feel any hesitation or uncertainty about what classes to take, BRCC points out that it has counselors and advisors who can help guide you through the class selection process. Counselors and other staff who are there to help students from all walks of life are an important thing to look for when choosing which school you'll attend after taking time off.
Some schools have dedicated student services offices specifically for non-traditional students. At Cleveland State Community College, the Adult/Non-Traditional Student Services Office provides support to non-traditional students during every step of the college process, from admissions to graduation. Offices like these are home to professionals who are sensitive to the specific needs of returning and other non-tradtional students, and will understand any problems or hesitation you might have.
Though some scholarship funds may not make allowances for returning students, Michigan's Normandale Community College has a scholarship specifically for those in this group. This is a great opportunity for returning students to pay down some of their educational expenses without relying on loans. The selection committee for this scholarship will also consider you for any other Normandale scholarship for which you might be eligible. Cost can be a big barrier in getting back to school, so finding a community college like Normandale that caters specifically to the financial needs of a returning student is a great idea.
Hopefully some of these community colleges are participating in the Open CourseWare movement.