15 Colleges With Flexible Scheduling for Nontraditional Students

By Staff WriterLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 6:48:07 PM ET
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Nontraditional students have a lot of life experience under their belts before heading off to college. In addition, they often have more responsibilities than traditional students just leaving their parents' home. Work, children and other obligations limit the amount of time nontraditional students have to make it to a college campus for class.

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Many colleges and universities understand the needs of these students and have created degree programs with flexible scheduling options to make it easy for people to finish their degrees. From night classes to online classes to block schedules, these 15 colleges and universities cater to nontraditional students.

1. Michigan State University (MI)

Located in East Lansing and with a student body of about 50,000 students, Michigan State University is the ninth-largest public university in the country. Many of their programs cater to nontraditional students with online classes or hybrid classes. With hybrid classes, students spend about 50% of the time in the classroom and the other half doing online coursework to make it easier to plan around busy schedules.

2. Colorado College (CO)

Rather than attending multiple classes throughout the week each semester, Colorado College simplifies the schedule with block scheduling. Students can take one class at a time for 18 days. By focusing their time and efforts on a single class, juggling work, children and life is much easier. At Colorado College, students take four classes per semester.

3. The University of Alabama (AL)

In the Bama by Distance program at the University of Alabama, students can take fully online or blended classes. Additionally, video streaming and video conferencing allows nontraditional students to attend certain classes even if they don't have the time to drive all the way to campus.

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4. Excelsior College (NY)

The average age of the student body at Excelsior College is 36.7 years old. Many students work full time or are part of the military. As such, the college is well versed in working around scheduling conflicts.

5. Spalding University (KY)

Non-traditional scheduling at Spalding University offers room for flexibility and in-depth study. Students attend seven six-week sessions with one or two classes per session. Additionally, each class meets for less than two hours per day to make it easy to work into any schedule.

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6. Northeastern University Global Network (MA)

Northeastern University has a long history of designing curriculum that meets industry standards. The Northeastern University Global Network is the online "campus" which has several options for scheduling and course delivery to make it easier for nontraditional students to find a program that meets their needs.

7. Tusculum College (TN)

Tusculum College in Tennessee is another college that uses block scheduling. There are two eight-week blocks per semester that allow students to focus studies on a smaller number of classes.

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8. Charter Oak State College (CT)

In addition to flexible scheduling, Charter Oak State College has a generous transfer policy. All credits earned from other institutions are honored at Charter Oak regardless of how long it's been since you earned them. With fewer credits to earn, you can finish your degree sooner.

9. University of Utah (UT)

UOnline at the University of Utah is designed with nontraditional students online. The self-paced programs offer the flexibility needed for parents and students who work full-time jobs. In addition to undergraduate programs, UOnline students can complete graduate programs as well.

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10. Thomas Edison State College (NJ)

Thomas Edison State College has a brick-and-mortar campus in New Jersey, but students rarely visit. Most coursework is completed online on a schedule that works for the student. It's one of the oldest colleges that caters to nontraditional students.

11. Brandman University (CA, WA)

Brandman University has over 25 campuses throughout California and Washington as well as online programs so students can choose the location that's most convenient to work or home. With a blend of traditional and e-learning classes, the university is able to serve the unique needs of full-time workers, parents and military personnel.

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12. Knox College (IL)

Knox College doesn't operate on the same semester schedule that other colleges and universities use. Instead, students take classes in trimesters. This type of scheduling makes it easier to keep up in the event that students need to take several weeks off in the middle of the academic year.

13. Cornell College (IA)

Cornell College offers eight blocks each school year in which students take just one course for 18 days. Not all of the college courses take place in the classroom either. Students may travel abroad for their 18-day block. For nontraditional students with dreams of studying abroad, this type of scheduling is a dream come true.

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14. Empire State College (NY)

Empire State College is part of the State University of New York System, but offers the greatest amount of flexibility in scheduling. Students can take evening college courses, weekly seminars, guided independent studies, online learning and more.

15. Davenport University (MI)

Davenport University has multiple locations throughout Michigan as well as online classes. In addition to a generous transfer policy, the university awards credits to students who have practical experience from careers or personal learning. Evening and weekend classes allow for maximum flexibility in scheduling.

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