Nontraditional Students in the Age of the Millennial

By CSU Global - July 31st, 2017

nontraditional students
Whether you’re earning a master’s degree, switching careers, or completing an undergraduate degree, the idea of reinventing yourself can be intimidating. You might also be worried about competing with a new generation of college graduates and young professionals. Although you may feel behind, the life skills and experience you take for granted are more important than you realize.

Statistically, millennials are the most educated generation in history; over 23 percent have bachelor’s degrees or higher. Stereotypically, members of this generation are confident masters of technology, and can do things with a cellphone you’ve never imagined. It’s daunting. But before you throw your hands up in defeat, we encourage you to think again. Prior generations actually have unique advantages in the workplace. Consider some of the benefits associated with returning to school as a nontraditional student.

You’re Focused

Nontraditional students have the significant advantage of having laser-like focus on their goals. Perhaps you’re going to be attending online classes each night after a full day of work, cooking dinner for your family, running errands, and spending quality time with your kids. You’ve got a lot going on in your life, but you’ve developed the skills and experience to handle these demands.

Traditional students, on the other hand, may be facing more choices than they had before college. This level of freedom can be distracting, and a detriment to studying. Many millennials have not acquired fundamental life skills — hence organizations like The Adulting Collective, which offers basic training in things like personal finance management, etiquette, and hygiene. Since you’ve moved past that phase, you’re better able to manage your time and focus on what matters most to you.

You Have Real-World Experience

For millennials heading out into the world for the first time, life can be overwhelming. These young adults are at a stage in life where they are transitioning from living at home with their parents to becoming independent, self-sufficient adults. Perhaps they haven’t had any workplace or office experience just yet, or maybe they’re struggling to learn how to manage their own finances. You however, have “been there, done that.” Your resilience and experience make you attractive to prospective employers, and can help you land a more lucrative job than those who are starting off with limited or no experience.

You Know What You Want

Maybe you knew what you wanted to do when you graduated from high school, but throughout the years, you started to feel like something was missing. Perhaps you no longer enjoyed the career path you chose, or you realized that your job wasn’t going to be sufficient to support you AND a family. Whatever the case may be, after years of experimenting with various workplaces and jobs, you know what opportunities exist, what your passions are, and what the cost of success looks like. This means that your career choices will be much more informed and focused.

You’re In It For You

While many millennials go to college because it’s important to them, some attend because their parents mapped it as the next step. If you return to school with defined goals, you’ll get far more from the experience. As a nontraditional student, you’re less concerned with what your parents think, and are far more passionate about taking care of your own needs — a huge advantage.

Going back to school and heading out into the workforce doesn’t have to be scary. You may be intimidated by the millennial generation, but consider what you bring to the table. Your life experience combined with your education and commitment to lifelong learning makes you a serious contender in today’s job market.

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