Student Success & Academic Advising Center

Non-Traditional Students

What is a “Non-traditional” student?

  • This is a term refers to students who are either over the age of 25 or who are coming to college after an absence from education.

My high school grades were terrible. Will I be able to “make it” in college?

  • High school grades do not foretell how well a non-traditional student will do in college. Overall, our non-traditional students do very well academically. Real-life experiences, maturity and hard work are advantages that lead to classroom success.

I’ve forgotten how to study, how to take notes, how to prepare for tests. Is there any help available?

  • Yes, the Center for Academic Support, located in the Hearnes Center, provides help in brushing up on all these skills. They also provide tutoring for specific classes you may be taking. These services are free. Also, there is a Freshman Orientation class called University 101: Freshman Seminar that covers these topics as well as other topics.

Will I be the only older student in my classes?

  • No. Approximately 24% of all students at MWSU are over the age of 25.

Do I have to take the ACT test before I enroll in college?

  • Only if your degree requires it. The residual ACT test is given at MWSU on dates throughout the year. Call Western Institute at 816.271.4117.

What if I flunk the ACT test?

  • You cannot flunk the ACT test. Because Missouri Western has an “open door” admissions policy, you may take classes no matter what your ACT score is. You may take the Act test as often as you need to.

How many hours do I have to take to be eligible for Financial Aid?

  • You must be enrolled in three hours to receive a Pell grant, if you are eligible for it. You must be enrolled in six hours to receive a loan, if you are eligible for it, which is considered a half-time student. A full-time student is enrolled in at least 12 hours.

Are you unsure of what career you want to pursue?

Are you having trouble narrowing down what major fits the career you are interested in?

This is all very normal and we are here to help you with the decision-making process.  We have developed Focus Areas that encompass all majors that Missouri Western has to offer.  The majors are connected to Focus Areas based on the career opportunities within those majors.  Please visit the Focus Areas website to learn more about what major is the best fit for the career you are considering.

If you would like to visit with an advisor regarding these Focus Areas, please email

How do I get started?

  • Complete an application for admission
    • Go to the Admission’s Office (Eder Hall 101).
    • OR go on-line
      • One stop where you apply for admission, financial aid, housing, competitive scholarships and the honors program.
      • Be prepared to submit either a high school diploma or GED certificate.
      • After graduating from high school or earning a GED, you attended another institution; you will need to submit a transcript from that institution.

Who do I need to see?

  • You may want to talk with financial aid (Eder Hall 103)
    • How do I apply for financial aid?
    • What are the deadlines for applying for financial aid?
    • When will I know how much financial aid I will receive?
    • When will I know if I received a scholarship?
    • Do I get a reimbursement check?
    • When and where do I get my reimbursement check?

How do I find my advisor and/or change my advisor?

  • To find your advisor:
    • Sign into your Goldlink Account
    • Go to Student Academic Tab
    • In the bottom left corner of page is your advisor’s name
  • To find your advisor’s email, office phone and building:
    • Missouri Western Homepage
    • Directories
    • Find an employee
    • Type in first name
    • Type in last name
    • (Do NOT forget to type in the CAPTCH image)
    • Search
  • If you want to change your advisor:
    • Go to the academic department that you want to change your major to and request that they process the electronic “Change of Advisor” form, choosing the new advisor.
    • Or meet with an advisor in the Student Success & Academic Advising Center (Eder Hall 209) to get this electronic form processed.
  • If you are a new student, you may not have an advisor assigned until the end of the 4th week of classes. Please go to the Student Success & Academic Advising Center (Eder Hall 209) for assistance.
  • If you are non-degree seeking, visiting high school or visiting college student, you do not have an advisor. If you have advising questions please stop by the Student Success Center (Eder Hall 209) for assistance.

How do I find the email address and/or phone number of my professor?

  • To find your professor’s email, office phone and building:
    • Missouri Western Homepage
    • Directories
    • Find an employee
    • Type in first name
    • Type in last name
    • (Do NOT forget to type in the CAPTCH image)
    • Search

How do I register for classes?

  • Priority Registration for fall classes is always the last of February and for spring classes, the first of October.
    • You need to schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to obtain your alternate PIN. Your alternate PIN will change every semester.
    • Go to your GoldLink account
    • Click on Student Academic tab
    • Add and Drop Classes

Non-traditional Student Center

  • It provides support and assistance for the non-traditional students at Missouri Western and is located in Eder Hall 200.
  • For more information, see the website at: or contact the Non-Traditional Student Center at 816.271.4280.

Important General information for the non-traditional student

  • You do not have to submit ACT scores to be admitted to Missouri Western.
  • Being admitted to Missouri Western does not automatically admit you to some departments. For example, the Craig School of Business requires you to have an ACT composite of 23 or specific courses; HPER requires an ACT composite of 18 for their majors.
  • Any class numbered below 100 does not count toward graduation. For example, Reading 095 (RDG095), and Math 081, and 083 (MAT 081, and MAT 083) are developmental classes and do not count toward graduation.
  • If you do not have an ACT score, you will be placed in developmental reading, math and English 100. English 100 does count toward graduation, but is still considered developmental.
  • There are placement tests, free of charge, a student can take to test out of the developmental courses required for reading, math and English.
  • Please check the websites:
  • Do you have college credit from some other institution? If so, you need to contact that college and have a transcript sent to Missouri Western’s Admissions Office.
  • In time, you may be eligible for Academic Renewal. Please contact the Registrar’s Office (816.271.4211) to discuss this option.