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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Q. What exactly is a nontraditional student?

A student who is a parent; A student who is married, partnered, widowed or divorced; A student who is 24 years of age or older; A student who is a military veteran; A student who waited 3 or more years after high school to attend college; A student who is returning to college to complete an undergraduate degree after a leave or absence of 3 or more years; A student who commutes over 15 miles one way; a high school student who is also attending college.

Q. Am I returning for the right reasons?

This is the most important question. Map out your career track for the next ten years: Do you benefit significantly from getting a degree, or would you be better off obtaining certification or more specialized work experience? If internship experience is going to be important in your line of work, how can you make the time to get it? What are your goals, strengths, and passions? How will it help you get a better job? Is it better for you to go part time or full time? How will you prepare your family and friends for the life change?

Q. Where can I find scholarships and financial aid?

Depending upon whether or not you will be keeping your current job, you may be eligible for employer tuition benefits. Even if this is not an option, financial help for adult learners is out there-check with organizations through the financial aid office, workers' unions, and use our scholarship resources in the Nontraditional Student Center. While it may seem that an overwhelming majority of scholarships are intended for graduating high school students, as long as the eligibility rules do not state as such, you can still apply. Many scholarships go unclaimed every year because people simply do not apply for them. Your Future Awaits!!!

Q. How do I get started?

This can often be an overwhelming question. The key is to break it all down into manageable steps. You can start with scheduling an appointment with an admissions counselor. If you have more questions before you begin you can also schedule a meeting with Ashley Strom, Assistant Director for Nontraditional Students, Recognized Student Organizations, and Leadership. It is her job to walk you through the steps and answer any questions you might have. You can email Ashley Strom at or by calling 507-389-6076

Q. Where is the Nontraditional Student Center located?

The Nontraditional Student Center is located in the lower level of the CSU across from the bowling alley. Watch the video to find out exactly where.

Q. I have been out of school for five years. Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Just as the last time around, an academic connection, such as a professor or advisor, is your best bet. If you don't have someone with whom you had a strong (and memorable) academic relationship, it is not a good idea to force a lesser relationship. Professional recommendations (such as those from bosses and team leaders) are often weighed just as heavily, particularly for the higher levels of education. Try to avoid getting a "personal relationship" letter from a friend or family member--they should only be used after you've exhausted all your other options.

Q. My skills are a little rusty. Where can I get help with English & Math?

Many adults who have been out of school for some time feel they need a refresher in certain subject areas. In addition, we all have different academic areas that we excel at and other areas that are more challenging for us. Here at MSU we have an Academic Success Office that offers many resources, programs, and tutors. The hardest part is asking for help. So empower yourself, and utilize your resources! Many of the Nontraditional students help each other in different academic areas in the Nontraditional Student Center (located in the lower level of the CSU within the Bullpen or stop by CSU 173).