The Non-Traditional Student Difference


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An enlightening view on serving the adult student in higher education.

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The Non-Traditional Student Difference

  1. 1. Kristi Hansen, MOL Academic AdvisorSt. Ambrose University
  2. 2. Agenda What defines a non-traditional student? St. Ambrose ACCEL services and structures What do you do at your institution? Resources
  3. 3. Defining Non-Traditional Students The adult-learner The commuter The transfer student The returning student Any student, regardless of age, who has adult responsibilities beyond college classes, and for whom those adult responsibilities take priority in times of crisis.” – NACADA Adult Learner Commission
  4. 4. Defining Non-Traditional Students Living off-campus Parent of 1+ children Working full-time Beyond traditional 18-22 college age Previous college experiences Financially independent
  5. 5. Student Concerns What are the program options? How do I find the schedules? What do I need to know about computers? Where do I get my books? How do I start? How do I pay for it? Who else will be in the classes? Can I do this?
  6. 6. Student Desires Want to be self-directed Want to receive credit for experiences Strive off organization and outlined goals Need to see relevancy and applicability Minimal contact hours away from outside responsibilities Challenging and rewarding experience Complete a degree as soon as possible
  7. 7. St. Ambrose University & ACCEL2009 2885 undergrads; 844 graduates ACCEL – 435 students  22% of these students were under 30  31% between the ages of 30-39  29% between the ages of 40-49  18% between the ages of 50-59  1% over 60 years of age  72% were female and 28% male
  8. 8. ACCEL Structures and Services Convenient Off-site Location Evening/Weekend Classes Adjuncts are Community Professionals Small Class Sizes (18-24) Comfortable Seminar-Style Classrooms and Teamrooms Focus on one class at a time Nine Start Times a Year Multiple Delivery and Course Formats Module Format Individual Degree Plans Discounted Tuition Rates Deferred Employer Payment Plans Recognition Opportunities to Voice Concerns and Opinions
  9. 9. Biggest Challenges Electronic textbooks Increasing student ownership of degree plans Lacking adult student seminar  Career focus inventory  Organization of priorities  Life balance  Feeling a part of the SAU campus Connections with main campus departments Tracking retention Mangled Web site
  10. 10. What happens at yourinstitution? How do you treat non-traditional students differently? Is there an importance in doing so? What can we do better? How can this network share ideas more fluidly?
  11. 11. Resources National ACademic ADvisor Association: Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning: American Association for Adult and Continuing Education: World Wide Learn: