7 Websites for Nontraditional Students

ON POINTTechnically, anyone can use these sites. They are not specific to nontraditional students. If you are just starting school and need some extra help with transitioning to student status, here’s a list of seven of my favorite websites that might help.

Chegg.com

Chegg is a website where you can buy or rent text books. I have found this site to be cheaper then renting books through my school. In addition to text books, they also have tutoring services. I used the tutoring while taking calculus and I found it to be really helpful. There is also a monthly subscription where you can get help with homework questions, which I also used while taking Biology.

Ratemyprofessor.com

If you attend college, this site is a lifesaver. Students from your school can go in and rate the instructors which helped me greatly with picking classes. The first time I used this site I was trying to gauge how hard an American history class would be if I took it online. Reading through comments for the class I discovered a lot of people who said this instructor was the easiest A they had ever earned. They were right! I took his class for sections 1 and 2 and got 105 in each class with only about 10% effort! I know that sounds bad, but it’s not like American history is my major. Anyway, I would caution to be careful not to take every individual post as the gospel truth because you never know who’s just a disgruntled student, but I would advise looking for patterns and trends in the comments.

Lynda.com

If you are not up on the latest versions of MS Office, or if you must take a computer course then Lynda is a great resource. Lynda teaches everything from MS Word for beginners to Photoshop for graphic designers. It’s a great way to learn or improve your computer skills. FYI, this is a paid site but many colleges provide this service to students.

KhanAcademy.com

I used this site while taking calculus (I needed a lot of help in calculus y’all). They have free videos for several subjects. Great resource for learning hard concepts like calculus.

Youtube.com

If you only use yt for makeup videos you are missing out! I have watched debates, learned calculus concepts (again), study skills, and organizing through yt. It took me years to realize that test taking and studying were actually skills. I unfortunately learned this half way through last semester and yt helped me develop those skills. Unless you are blessed with a photographic memory, you are going to need to develop this skill set.

Quizlet.com

Quizlet is basically a place where you can find or create your own digital flash cards. I have never created my own flash cards there but I have come across other people’s flash cards while looking for an answer to a homework problem.

easybib.com

At some point you are going to have to write a research paper and you will be expected to credit your sources. This site generates the citation once you put in the information. This was a time saver when I was taking English, and literature.

So, there you have it. My favorite 5 links/websites that have helped me. Do you have any sites that helped you in school? Leave them in the comments!

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Starting School

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Back To School

So you picked a program, picked your school, and have gotten financing? Congratulations you are well on your way to achieving your goals. I am tempted to say the hard part is done, but that wouldn’t exactly be accurate. You still have classes, advisers, traditional students, kids, family, bosses, friends, significant others, dogs, cats, and god only knows what else left to contend with! So let’s talk about ways to make your life run a little smoother while in school

First things first, school has to become a priority. I am not saying it has to be your only priority, but it needs to be on your top 5 list. People generally protect and guard the things that are a priority to them. You don’t blow off your child’s graduation to go play golf with your friends because your child is your priority, right? Well, you don’t blow off school work to go play golf with your friends either. It has to be a priority.

Establish a relationship with your adviser. Plan to meet with them at least twice each semester. The first meeting of the semester should be to discuss any issues you may be having and to find resources that are available to you.  Have them draw up a time line for the classes you have to take and check in with them at the end of the semester to ensure you are on schedule.

Parents

I don’t have children, but I find so many nontraditional students who have children struggle with returning to school the most. This is especially true if you have small children. Most important for parents is to have a support system in place who will help pick up the slack. From the beginning, you should let people in your life know what you are trying to accomplish and ask them to help. Arranging child care is going to be important. If finding child care is an issue, you might need to seek out schools that have online classes.

Organization

I began getting organized late in the game. I realized I was getting overwhelmed and began looking for ways to manage my schedule. I have a master planner that lays out my daily schedule but I also keep deadlines, test dates, and school activities in it.

I also set out to organize my study habits. I actually decided to look on youtube and found a lot of great info there. Most of the advice was from traditional students but I still was able to use some of it. One of my favorite youtubers is Gabby Aikawa. She has great videos on everything from creating study guides, to planner organization. She also has a video showing her grades so I knew I was following the advice of someone who was truly an A student. Thomas Frank from College Info Geek is also another great youtuber who makes great videos. Another is Mariana .

I would also advise having a specific study area. That area should be organized, comfortable, well lit, and most importantly, free from distractions. Here a couple more video on study strategies that should help.

Connections

If you wind up at a traditional college/university you might feel out of place. Traditional college students are young and generally don’t have the same responsibilities. You may be tempted to keep to yourself and not deal with them but that would be a mistake. I am not saying go partying with them, but it is possible to connect with them on a level that is beneficial to you. Also, these people are going to be going into the same industry so there is an opportunity to network for jobs in the future.

Introduce yourself to your instructor. Do this in the beginning. Let them know you are a nontraditional student and ask what you need to do to get the grade you want in this class. I am not saying be a teacher’s pet, but introducing yourself can help you stand out and shows your instructor that you are serious about their class.

Good Luck!