Non-Traditional Students FAQs

For non-traditional students, orientation back into school mode may be difficult. In order to help ease the transition, please take a look at the FAQ section below. Also note that if you have transfer credits coming into Shippensburg University, you should make sure to send in your transcripts for evaluation so you can schedule classes during orientation.

What is a Non-Traditional Student?

A non-traditional student is an adult student who is older than traditional freshmen, who has had a break in his/her formal learning experience and now is returning to the university or entering the university for the first time.

How many Non-Traditional Students attend Shippensburg University?

Around 500 students at Shippensburg University are considered non-traditional students. Approximately 60% of these students are female. Many of these students attend Shippensburg University full time.

I have not been a student for a while. What resources are available to help me succeed?

Shippensburg University has a wide array of services available to you as a student. Academic resources include the Academic Services Center which offers free tutoring and workshops, the Lehman Library, and Student Disability Services. Shippensburg University cares about your wellbeing, 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, as well as a variety of clubs and organizations.

Do I have to take an ACT or SAT to be accepted to Shippensburg University?

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

I have credits from a different institution, will these transfer to Shippensburg University?

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.

Do I have to be a full time student to attend Shippensburg University?

No, you may take one or two classes if you desire. To be eligible for financial aid, you must take at least six credit hours.

What kind of financial aid is available?

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.

How do I register for classes?

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 website.

Are classes available in the evenings, weekends or online?

Shippensburg University offers classes in the evenings and online. Many General Education Requirements can be completed in the evening and online.

Is there a special orientation for Non-Traditional Students?

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.

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

Where can I find childcare?

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

Little Adventures Child Care Center at Shippensburg
8770 Possum Hollow Rd, Shippensburg
(717) 532-2652

My Place Too
745 Orrstown Rd, Shippensburg
(717) 532-3526

Can Non-Traditional Students participate in campus activities?

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.

How do I get involved with the Non-Traditional Student Organization (NTSO)?

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

Is housing available for Non-Traditional Students?

Non-traditional students are exempt from the housing requirement, but they are permitted to live in the residence halls. Most non-traditional student chose to live off campus. A list of off campus communities and landlords is available through the University’s Off Campus Housing website.

Do I have to pay for tutoring services?

Free tutoring services are available through the University. The Academic Services Center offers free tutoring and workshops. Many academic departments offer free tutoring as well.

What do I need to attend the week before school starts so I can let my employer (and baby sitter) know what days I need off from work?

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 2o 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 on the orientation website for additional programs geared for non-traditional students.

  2. Attend Student Success Conference Activities on August 21. 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 22, 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 website and the Orientation Website for more details.