Article Highlight: College Distance Learning: Interview with Jim Vidmar
Nontraditional students add diversity to the college population and bring unique experiences and perspectives to each class they take in pursuit of their educational goals.
Nontraditional Students Defined
Nontraditional students are generally defined as students who enroll in college after the age of 25. This includes those who didn't follow the traditional path of graduating from high school and enrolling in college the next year. They may have found a job right out of high school or started school and taken a break to raise a family. A degree can help them make a career change or seek a promotion. The group also includes students who earned a degree in the past and are returning for advanced coursework. They may be hoping for a promotion at work or pursuing a new interest.
The term "nontraditional" can be used to describe the means of instruction as well. Students of all ages turn to online degree programs and distance learning for flexibility and convenience. With online learning, they can attend class and complete work according to their own timeline. Distance education opportunities make degrees from a distant university a possibility for those with full-time jobs and other commitments. Classes and degrees are available from traditional universities and schools like the University of Phoenix dedicated to online instruction. However, before enrolling in any online program, students should make sure the school is accredited.
Nontraditional students aren't always seeking degrees. Some returning students need a certain number of classes to maintain a professional certification. Others are looking to gain a new skill for advancement at work or a career change. A number of older students only want to take a few classes for personal enrichment, and are more concerned with what they can take away from the experience than with any credits they may earn.