Published: Nov. 7, 2016
Student studies under a tree on campus

What does it mean to be a non-traditional student at CU Boulder?

Being non-traditional could mean being older than one's peers in class. It may mean commuting from outside of Boulder. It could mean having a spouse and kids at home, or maybe family is a few hundred miles away. Whatever being a non-traditional student means to you, it certainly means having a different college experience than students coming straight from high school.

The Non-Traditional Student Organization (NTSO) formed last spring as a way to help these students with the transition to CU Boulder. Whether someone is transferring from a community college or has been out of school for several years, there are special challenges faced when entering a four-year institution, and making that transition might not be easy.

Two of the most common themes to surface since this group began are:

  1. Non-traditional students study and learn a little differently than their more-traditional student counterparts.
  2. It’s difficult to meet others and make friends, which is especially true for commuter students who may not spend as much extracurricular time on campus to meet other students or participate in on-campus activities.

Changes are happening.

One of the most important aspects related to student success is having a sense of community, and finding one's place early on can help alleviate the stress and anxiety of trying to start over somewhere new or unusual. In order to give transfer students a chance to find their place in this community and others with whom to connect, CU has been coordinating events specifically with non-traditional students in mind. This year during Fall Welcome Week, a breakfast sponsored by the Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations Office was held for commuter and transfer students, and some departments are holding meet-and-greets for their transfer students.

The Off-Campus Housing and Neighborhood Relations Office has also hired new team members to assist this growing population, the newest of which is the transfer student liaison. In conjunction with the NTSO, the transfer student liaison's goal is to make non-traditional and transfer students' transition to academia as seamless and stress-free as possible.

We want to hear your voice.

Every transfer and non-traditional student’s experience is different and important. Below are a number of ways to join in and make sure your voice is heard.