Get your career in gear

It may seem like an adventure less traveled for the 25+ crowd, but 47 percent of Cyclone undergraduates are taking advantage of the same opportunities as you — especially if you are considering:

  • Starting work on a bachelor's degree
  • Transferring to Iowa State University from another school
  • Finishing a college degree started some years ago
  • Just taking a few classes for personal growth

If you haven’t had any college coursework before, you’ll need to satisfy our regular first-year requirements. If you don’t meet them, you’ll be given individual consideration. If you have previously attempted college coursework, you must meet our normal transfer requirements.

Military and veteran students

Frequently asked questions

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies (B.L.S.), a degree program designed specifically for working adults and allows students to earn credit in a variety of ways.

The B.L.S. program has no residence requirements. To complete the degree, students may earn credits through distance-learning formats as well as regular on-campus courses. Students may also earn credits by proficiency or test-out examinations.

Many classes are held on the Iowa State campus. A number of upper-level classes are also offered on the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny.

Some Iowa State courses are offered on the Iowa Communications Network, online, or on videotape. These offerings give you an opportunity to take advantage of Iowa State's excellent educational programs no matter where you live.

Each year 75 adult students returning or enrolling in college for the first time receive a $2,000 Adult Student Scholarship. As an adult returning to college or enrolling in college for the first time, you could be one of them.

Review Financial Aid: Scholarships and Grants for additional information on these and other scholarships such as the following:

  • Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship
  • Roy J. Carver Scholarship
  • Iowa State University Community College Scholarship
  • Engineering Transfer Scholarship

Apply for loans, grants and scholarships, and government-supported part-time jobs by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For more information, see Tuition and Fees.

Adult students at Iowa State have a high success rate due to their motivation and maturity, and this is taken into consideration when applications are reviewed. We encourage you to apply for admission even if you don't meet the following general guidelines:

  • Graduate in the upper half of your high school class, or achieve a satisfactory ACT composite score or SAT combined score.
  • Complete at least 24 semester credits of graded transferable course work from a regionally accredited college or university with at least a "C" (2.25) average.
  • Earn a GED certificate, with scores at the fiftieth percentile or higher.

While Iowa State does not automatically award credit for work experience or general knowledge, you can test for credit in those areas in which you believe you have the necessary preparation.

For more information, visit Credit by Examination.

The Bachelor of Liberal Studies (B.L.S.) is a general studies degree in the liberal arts. There is no traditional major. Instead, students take coursework in three areas of distribution. These areas may be focused in a single discipline or diversified over several disciplines. With the assistance of a B.L.S. advisor, students can structure a program that meets their individual educational, vocational or personal goals.

For more information about application for admission, visit the apply page.

You can also find out more information by contacting the Office of Admissions at or 515-294-5836. For information on a specific topic consult:

ISU Office of Child Care and Family Services
ISU Family Resource Center
2623 Bruner Drive

Student Accessibility Services
1076 Student Services Building
515-294-1020 or (TTY/TDD) 515-294-1021

Continuing Education and Communications Services
(off-campus courses)
102 Scheman Building

Student Financial Aid
0210 Beardshear Hall

University Student Apartments
100 University Village