Comparison Between Traditional And Nontraditional Students

1272 words - 5 pages

Comparison Between Traditional and Nontraditional StudentsOver the last decade, the student population on college campuses across the United States has been undergoing startling changes. Set foot on any campus and you are likely to be amazed by the new demographic of college students roaming the halls, enrolling in online classes, and making use of everything the college has to offer. These students are not the "typical" college students that the media portrays; the 18-22 year-olds who attend day classes, are up until the peak of dawn, and live on a campus at a four-year institution. Classified as 'non-traditional,' this new wave of college attendees account for 40 percent of America's college students (Vise). According to K. Patricia Cross, a professor of higher education at the University of California, Berkeley, "the term 'nontraditional students' is generally used to describe adult part-time learners who carry full-time adult responsibilities in addition to their study." Higher education is seeing a significant change in regard to the student population and the number of adults-learners returning to school to acquire degrees.What separates a traditional student from a non-traditional student? Typically, the clearest distinction between the two is simply their age. Non-traditional students can range in age from 23 to 65 years or even more. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a non-traditional student pertains to one or more of the following characteristics: delayed enrollment, is enrolled part-time, works full-time, is financially independent, has dependents other than a spouse, is a single parent, and did not receive a standard high school diploma. Anyone who fits this criteria may have full-time jobs they need to concentrate on, families they need to support, and bills they need to cover. This is a main reason behind why adult-learners differ from traditional students, for they vary when it comes to what motivates them.On the other hand, students labeled as 'traditional' are those who enroll in college straight out of high school. They typically do not have jobs and "receive financial assistance though scholarships or grants, or perhaps are fortunate enough to have parents who can afford the cost themselves (Umholtz)." Young students who enroll in college courses following their high school graduation may not of made the decision for themselves. They feel hopeless, and unsure of which direction life will take them. High school students are now feeling the added pressure of a down economy, and are strongly encouraged to immediately start on their college journey. If college is not an option, according to many parents, they will end up with low-paying jobs for the rest of their lives.For a non-traditional student, returning to school is a decision that is made solely by them. They do not experience the added pressure most traditional students have when enrolling in places of higher education. However,...

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