I have compiled a list of adult / nontraditional college degree programs in the New York City Metropolitan area.
Adult / Nontraditional College Programs in New York City
|Empire State College||SUNY||Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Online|
|Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education||CUNY||Manhattan|
|Adult Collegiate Education (ACE) Queens College||CUNY||Queens|
|Adult Degree Program at Lehman College||CUNY||Bronx|
|BMCC Saturday Success Track||CUNY||Manhattan|
|CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNY BA)||CUNY||Manhattan|
|Fordham School of Professional Studies||Private nonprofit||Manhattan & Bronx|
|NYU School of Professional Studies Home||Private nonprofit||Manhattan|
Some features of adult and nontraditional degree programs
- Advising geared to adult and non-traditional students
- Credit for prior learning experience
- In-person classes that meet once per week, in the evenings, or on weekends
- Online courses
- Four credit courses
- Some General Education requirements may be waived
- Some admissions requirements may be eased
- Program-specific curriculum meant to meet general education requirement may be offered
- Interdisciplinary programs that might incorporate a wider variety of prior college credit into the degree plan are offered
- Professional Studies are also common, and often integrated into the title of the program.
A few notes:
- “Adult” is usually defined as “over 25,” but not all the programs listed have this requirement, and some programs may offer some flexibility in this area.
- I did not include any “online-only” programs. One option that looks good in this category is CUNY SPS.
- Most of these programs offer information sessions. I recommend attending one, because there’s usually additional information not available online, and you can see the physical space in case you’re thinking of taking courses on-site.
- I think public institutions offer the best value. However, it’s worth mentioning that Fordham offers a reduced per-credit rate as well as the possibility of scholarships for adult students, and NYU offers a reduced rate for its Associate Degree program. There are many other private schools offering adult degree programs in New York City, but for the most part I find them to be expensive and not-very-compelling. Remember: If you’re starting college later in life, you have less time left to pay back your student loans!
It is true that adult and nontraditional students don’t have to be in special programs. Instead, you can apply to a local community college or other traditional institution, especially if it has a strong night program. Otherwise, it may be hard to schedule classes that don’t conflict with a 9-5 work schedule.
A good online program can also work well for adults, but if you’re looking for at least some in-class experience, one of the above programs might work better. Note that most colleges have specific admissions requirements that include passing a mathematics test. If you’ve been away from mathematics for a while, this could be a barrier. You can learn more about how the various CUNY adult programs address this issue (if at all) at an information session. Also, this CUNY document discusses this and other challenges for adult students in the CUNY system.
CUNY’S list of its adult programs