What exactly is a “non-traditional student”?
There are numerous components to what constitute a non-traditional student. The NODA-Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention website, provides a brief overview of what a non-traditional student is. Basically, a non-traditional student is any student that does not complete college directly after graduating High School. Typically non-traditional students are over the age of 24, are enrolled part-time, commute to campus, already have a full-time job, and have children and or a spouse that are dependent on them. There are many more characteristics that can describe a non-traditiona student, but the few listed above are the most common. The NODA website briefly describes the importance of making an effort to improve the college experience for non-traditional students. At the end of the piece, NODA provides several resources for non-traditional students, college professors, and other educational professionals to access.
Due to the juggling of other responsibilities, non-traditional learners can face numerous challenges in obtaining their degree. In Prospectus, Scott Barnes wrote a piece, “The challenges of being a non-traditional student” in which describes some of the challenges a non-traditional student may undergo. Scott writes about an adult re-entry advisement center that helps non-traditional students make the transition into college. He reports on ways in which advisors can support and promote academic success in non-traditional students. Scott also mentions a piece about non-traditional learners having more focus and determination, due to more life experience.
In Success for Adult Students, Stephen G. Pelletier discusses ways in which universities can improve to make college a more successful experience for non-traditional learners. Stephen provides a great overview of some of the challenges that are faced by non-traditional students. Some of the challenges that are mentioned in the article include: juggling between home and school responsibilities, trouble with transitioning to college class characteristics, confusion about the system of college, problems with credit transfer, holding different expectations, and having different learning styles (as all students do). I think the following sentence does a great job summing up non-traditional challenges:
“One problem for adults is the constant, competing tension between life obligations and educational obligations.” – Jamie Merisotis
CTE Clearinghouse provides an extensive list of resources for educational professionals to access, including websites, podcasts, journal articles, and videos!
Please join us for our upcoming Tuesday, November 17th session on “Teaching Non-Traditional Students. Our esteemed presenters for the November 17th session include:
Katherine Voegtle, Professor of Educational Psychology
Deborah Reyome, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Student Veterans Association
Provisions’ sessions are from 12:-00-1:15 in Standish A&B. All are welcome and no reservations are required. Free lunch and refreshments will be available! Hope to see you all there!! 🙂