Non-Traditional Students FAQs

Non-traditional students, or adult learners, are typically students who are older than traditional freshmen. Some non-traditional students have taken a break in their formal learning experience and now are returning to the university. Some may be entering the university for the first time. For some of you, easing back into school mode may be difficult. In order to help you through this transition, we’ve compiled a list of FAQs.

Getting involved with the Non-Traditional Student Organization (NTSO) can help, too. Meeting times are posted in the lounge, as well as on the Facebook page (Ship NTSO: Non-Traditional Student Organization). You can also email the NTSO at

What do I need to know BEFORE I arrive on campus?

When you apply, you need to submit transcripts from all previous institutions. These are required before your application for admission can be reviewed. After acceptance into the University, the college in which your major is housed will complete a transcript evaluation to determine how your credits will transfer. More information is available on the Transfer Student webpage. Please note, if you have transfer credits coming into Shippensburg University, be sure to submit your transcripts so you can schedule classes during orientation.

Shippensburg University has a wide array of services available to you as a student. Academic resources include the Learning Center, which offers free tutoring and workshops, the Lehman Library, and Student Disability Services. Shippensburg University cares about your well being beyond your academic career at Ship. Other resources available to you include Multicultural Student Affairs, United Campus Ministry, Veterans Services, Wellness Services, the Women's Center, and a variety of clubs and organizations.

Non-traditional students do not need to take the SAT or ACT, however placement tests may be required in lieu of the SAT/ACT.

No, you may take one or two classes if you desire. Many non-traditional students are also working professionals or caregivers, so Shippensburg University offers classes in the evenings and online. Many General Education Requirements can be completed in the evening and online.

Grants and loans are available to students depending on financial need. To determine your eligibility, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligibility is based on need, not on the basis of age. Information about financial aid can be found at: More information about financial aid specific to Shippensburg University, including scholarships and veteran's benefits, can be found on the University's financial aid website.

If you are an incoming freshman in the fall semester, you will register for classes during orientation. If you are an incoming freshman in the spring semester, the registrar's office will register you for your classes according to your declared major. Instructions for returning student registration can be found on the Registrar's webpages.

Childcare can be found on campus and surrounding the University. Nearby centers include:

  • Child and Family Center at Shippensburg University
    Located in the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School on campus
    *Register through Shippensburg School District
    (717) 477-1792
  • A Caring Place Day Care
    123 East King St, Shippensburg
    (717) 530-1817
  • Jack & Jill Day Care
    415 East Orange St, Shippensburg
    (717) 532-8064
  • Kid's Kount
    211 East Garfield St, Shippensburg
    (717) 530-1819
  • Kidz First
    9540 Molly Pitcher Hwy, Shippensburg
    (717) 532-2167
  • Rosenberry Learn and Play Childcare
    8770 Possum Hollow Rd, Shippensburg
    (717) 532-0079
  • My Place Too
    745 Orrstown Rd, Shippensburg
    (717) 532-3526

What do I need to know AFTER I arrive on campus?

A special orientation is held in the fall and spring for new non-traditional students. This orientation offers you the chance to better understand the resources available to you, learn where your classes are, and meet other non-traditional students.

We strongly encourage all new students to participate in as many activities during the Fall Welcome Week as possible. All activities are designed to introduce students to the learning community, provide important details and information regarding various academic departments, university policies, advising information, etc. Moreover, they are also created to provide opportunities for you to develop social and professional networks that you will need to rely on as you navigate your Ship academic career and as you develop your resume for a competitive career search.

Nevertheless, some activities are geared toward different audiences and they may not be as pertinent to your needs and interests. If you have to be selective in the activities that you participate in we recommend that you plan to:

  1. Arrive on campus on August 24 in the afternoon to pick up your Welcome Week information and materials in the CUB. Please stay through New Student Welcome Convocation. Other activities will follow and, if you are able, please participate. Check out the Fall Welcome Week Schedule for additional programs geared for non-traditional students.
  2. Attend Student Success Conference Activities on August 26. Sessions begin in the morning and run through the afternoon. As possible, identify and make contact with other non-traditional students so you are able to make connections and build new friendships.

If your time allows, please register and participate in service-learning projects scheduled for Saturday August 27, and other activities throughout the rest of the weekend, you will find some activities rewarding and beneficial for you. Check out the Fall Welcome Week and the Orientation webpages for more details.

How do I obtain a student ID?

To obtain a student ID, you need to go to the ID room located in Reed Operations Center. Current hours for the ID room can be found on the Public Safety webpage.

How do I obtain a parking permit?

If you have a Shippensburg University email address and an SU ID card, you can register for a parking permit through myShip. If you are missing one of these items, you can apply in person at the University's Police Department. More information regarding parking, including parking maps can be found on the Parking website.

How do I find where my classes are?

You can find your classes on the University map. Building abbreviations can be found here.

How do I get my books?

You can get your books at the bookstore located in the lower level of the CUB, online through the bookstore's website, or through private sellers like

Non-traditional students are welcome to participate in all campus activities, clubs, and organizations. The Non-Traditional Student Organization serves the needs of non-traditional students specifically.

The NTSO has proven to be a strong support system for adult students. The organization encourages active participation through the board and corresponding committees. Meetings are conducted monthly. Input from current members help direct the focus of the educational and social programs offered each year. It also assists with a special orientation program for incoming adult students.