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Are You Normal?

Are You Normal?

Today’s college students are much different than they used to be

The story goes: you graduate from high school, get into college, move on campus, go to class,
earn your undergraduate degree and then you’re working in a field you love. The end.
It’s a nice idea, but this scenario is rare now. Most university students these days are not full-
time, straight from high school or in any sense “traditional.” The new normal student is,
well…nontraditional. Life got in the way. Things were too busy. Finances just didn’t come
through, and work couldn’t wait because rent needed to be paid.

Bachelor’s degree isn’t the end
Because of the skills, pay, knowledge, and employment gaps in many industries, there is an
increasing demand for students with master’s degrees. For nontraditional students, the end of
their undergraduate experience is only the beginning of their graduate one in their 30s, 40s and
even older. And many of them who work are turning to fully online programs to help balance
their life obligations with a part-time online degree program. The goal is to earn more to provide
more, take their career to the next level, or change it up for a completely new profession.

FIU Online serves nontraditional students
Florida International University understands the changing face of today’s students and their life
demands. Many of the university’s more than 57,000 students commute from all over South
Florida—they live at home and a great proportion of them also work, so they’re also part-time
students.

But the university’s students aren’t just from the surrounding areas. An increasing number of
FIU’s students are from outside Florida and they’re keeping pace with their classmates through
degree programs that are fully online, without having to step foot on campus or in a dorm.

Access through online education

Technology has allowed for more access to FIU’s degree programs. Over a third of FIU’s
students take at least one class online, as the university offers more than 100 degrees, 100
percent online. Over the last five years, the university has seen the greatest increase in fully online enrollment.
And the consensus? Online education offers the diversity and quality experience that rivals on-
campus courses, featuring the very same instructors, curriculum and rigor. Also, students may
schedule their lives around their studies, which can be accessed online wherever and whenever
they need to, to meet course deadlines.

Are you nontraditional? Take the quiz*

  • You’re older than 25
  • You’re financially independent from your parents
  • You’re caring for a child
  • “Part-time” is better for your life demands
  • You took off a year or two before starting school
  • You’re at a two-year community college
  • Your parents never completed a bachelor’s degree
  • You’re a single caregiver
  • You don’t have a traditional high school diploma
  • You had to delay starting college
  • You work full-time
  • You work more than one job

* If you said “yes” to one or more, then congratulations—you’re the new normal! Ready to go
back to school? Learn how you can get started online now.