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Nontraditional Student FAQs

What is a Nontraditional Student?

A Nontraditional 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 Nontraditional Students attend Shippensburg University?

Around 600 students at Shippensburg University are considered Nontraditional 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 free tutoring and workshops, the Lehman Library, and accessibility resources. 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 PAGE 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?

Nontraditional 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.

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. More information about financial aid specific to Shippensburg University, including scholarships and veteran’s benefits, can be found on through the Financial Aid Office.

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 through the Office of the Registrar.

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 Nontraditional Students?

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

How do I obtain a student ID?

To obtain a student ID, you need to go to the Information Desk at the Ceddia Union Building (CUB). If you are an incoming freshman that is residing on campus, your student ID will be issued to you upon move in at your assigned residence hall.

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 online. If you are missing one of these items, you can apply in person at the Shippensburg University Police Department.

How do I find where my classes are?

You can find your classes on the university map.

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.

Where can I find childcare?

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

  • 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 Nontraditional Students participate in campus activities?

Nontraditional Students are welcome to participate in all campus activities, clubs, and organizations. The Nontraditional Student Organization serves the needs of Nontraditional 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 Nontraditional Student Organization (NTSO)?

Meeting times are posted in the lounge. You can also email the NTSO at

Is housing available for Nontraditional Students?

Nontraditional Students are exempt from the housing requirement, but they are permitted to live in the residence halls. Most Nontraditional Students chose to live off campus.

Do I have to pay for tutoring services?

Free tutoring services are available through the university. Many academic departments offer free tutoring as well.