A student standing in the Haworth College of Business.

Apply as a Nontraditional Student

Find the learning pathway that best fits you

Welcome to Western Michigan University! We're delighted that you're interested in learning more about the possibilities at WMU. We offer many choices for nontraditional students who wish to take one course, pursue additional coursework or return to the University to complete a degree. The more you explore WMU, the more you'll realize that this may be the perfect place to complete your education.

So, who is a nontraditional student? We define such a student under the following categories:

Read below to discover which option best fits your needs as an undergraduate student. We also encourage you to consider the many options available through our regional location in Grand Rapidsonline education, graduate admissions or international admissions.


Which student type are you?

  • Grand Rapids Public Schools students participated in experiential learning field trips to the AMP Lab @ WMU in spring 2022.

High school dual enrollment

Are you a high school student in the greater Kalamazoo area with a strong academic record that proves you're college-ready? Upon the approval of your high school principal, you may be eligible to enroll in WMU classes.

These Early College Programs offer you the opportunity to earn credits that can be applied toward high school graduation and college.

Explore Early College Programs at WMU  


If you are an incoming first-year student with advanced credits, you'll want to check out our Early Credit page.

Returning students

  • A woman holding up her diploma at commencement while shaking hands with President Montgomery.

Returning students

Ready to get back to creating the future you deserve? Western is happy to welcome back students who have not been enrolled at the University for a year or more.

Take the next step as a returning student  


  • To go from where I've been to now finally go to Western Michigan University and live on campus just can't be more amazing. It feels like I have so much support, and I'm home again."

    Zabihullah Najafi, current student


  • Senior engaged in a conversation at WMU.

Senior Citizens’ Opportunity Program in Education

Western is a big believer in creating opportunities for those who love to learn—no matter their age. Our Senior Citizens’ Opportunity Program in Education (SCOPE) offers those age 62 or older the option to register for one class each semester tuition-free. Students who wish to register for credit are not eligible for SCOPE.

Qualified candidates must submit an application for admission. Depending on your level, please submit the undergraduate application or graduate non-degree application. The admission application fee is waived.

Learn more about SCOPE  

Guest student

Looking to complete your college education with additional classes at WMU? Undergraduate students who are currently attending other colleges or universities may apply for guest student status at WMU.

Students who wish to be a guest student and transfer credit back to their home institution need to fill out a non-degree application.

Guest application process:

  • Check WMU course offerings.
  • Confirm with your home institution that the course(s) you plan to take at WMU will transfer back to your school.
  • Complete the online application in the WMU Gold Gateway. Be sure to answer, “I want to take classes at WMU to transfer back to my college.”

Once your application and official transcript are received in admissions, processing time is approximately two weeks. When processing is complete, you will receive an email and letter notifying you of your admission status and next steps information.

Apply as a guest student  


Non-degree seeking student

If you don’t want to pursue a degree and just want to take classes, you can apply for non-degree status. Keep in mind that choosing non-degree status may limit the courses you can take and the financial aid options available to you. It’s important to note that being accepted for non-degree status doesn’t mean you’re admitted to WMU for a degree program. When applying, make sure to select the non-degree option on the application.

Start your non-degree seeking application now  

Adult learners

  • A man writing in a notebook in an adult learning course.

WMUx: Enhanced learning experiences for adult learners

WMUx is an innovative and collaborative initiative within the University that aims to shape the future of learning. It serves as a resource and partner to the University and community, providing a solid foundation for growth.

WMUx offers innovative ways to learn for employers and their staff, academic and community learners, as well as individuals seeking to further their learning through connection.

Visit WMUx to learn more