How many of you are non-traditional students?

I was diagnosed about about three years ago when I was 37. First with depression with psychosis, then with schizo-affective disorder, then finally with chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Right after my diagnosis, and after I got on to welfare, I started going back to school. I had had a terrible time in high school with depression and bullying and a terrible home life, and I dropped out in tenth grade. I got my GED when I was 25. Being diagnosed, and seeing that my life was going nowhere, I felt compelled to do something about it. Especially being on welfare, made me want to get off welfare ASAP. I went to community college when I was 37, and I recently graduated with a 3.79 GPA. I am now planning on going to West Chester University in the spring and majoring in psychology. I have also applied to Bryn Mawr College, but because of my age, they won’t let me apply for the spring semester, so I am applying for the fall. I honestly don’t know what my chances are of getting in which is one reason why I’m just going ahead with West Chester now. I applied for the University of Pennsylvania, but didn’t get in. I applied and got in to Drexel University, but they were too expensive for me.

So, how many of you are going to school at a non-traditional age? What’s your story?

I’m 28 and I’m starting community college January 6th. I was OK in school, but I was absent a lot due to my head circus and other problems. I somehow took my GED equivalency test when I was in hospital. I have NO idea how I passed. I barely remember taking them. My parents are both teachers so that must have helped. My Mom is science and math my Dad is art and history. Maybe just having them teach me what they could got me through.

I got my job as a janitor first, work my way up to the point where I could transfer over to the parks maintenance side and then worked my way up a little more. Now I’m more involved with the gardens and landscaping. I now want to go back to school to get my degree in horticulture so I can get further up the ladder in my job.

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Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like a good plan.

i’m 31 and stable on meds, was diagnosed in 2003 i think about 10 yrs ago and i am now on my second year at college studying social care, hoping to become some kind of mental health care worker and if that doesnt work out i might try and get into christian college as i really like the work that they do with all different kinds of people, thanks.


i was a nontraditional student and also a schizophrenic when i got my degree.

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Thanks for sharing your stories.

I’m 52. I’m taking online classes from a community college. I need six more classes for my AA degree. I started in 1984, two years after getting out of the hospital. I took most of my classes on-campus, but now taking online classes works for me.

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Good for you for going back. I go to school on campus, which is kind of intimidating because of the young age of most of the other students. At community college there were some older students, but now that I’m transferring to a university, I think that will be less common.

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I agree with you over dropping out of school because of bullying. I should have done it at 13 for the same reason. But anyway, I believe Ive attended the university of life, I basically have a lot between my ears because of my problems so its a positive.

Fair play for going back to college. Im 37 myself and am considering getting work in social work but I will have to consider the course. Best of Luck.


Thanks for your reply. I definitely believe you can learn a lot through the university of life.