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#421 - 03/07/2004 10:13 AM would like to ask some questions......
Joe2502 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/2004
My Name is Joe and I attend a community college. There is a large population of Non-traditional students enrolled. I am writhing to find out some things for a research paper, which I plan to speak about at a conference of undergraduate research with several of the surrounding universities. My topic is Non-traditional students and their sub culture.

My main question is what is the definition of a Non-Traditional student? Is it age only? Does the definition of non-traditional students cover a broad range? And so forth.

#422 - 03/07/2004 12:40 PM Re: would like to ask some questions......
Admin Offline


Registered: 12/10/2008
Loc: California
Hi Joe,

Each school may have their own definition of what constitutes a "non-traditional" student, but it generally means an older student, usually more than 24 or 25 years of age; a student who has previously gone to college and is returning after a break; a student who graduated high school and directly entered the work force, and is now attending college for the first time.

The non-traditional student demographic is the fastest growing segment of the student population.

For more indepth information, I would suggest you check out the special report section:
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#423 - 05/09/2004 07:03 AM Re: would like to ask some questions......
CoachTurner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/09/2004
Loc: Myrtle Beach SC
I generally use a descriptor I got from a faculty member once that makes defining "non-traditional" much easier.

A non-traditional student is one that doesn't fit into the model of the typical traditional student.

The typical traditional undergraduate finished high school and immediately entered college at 17-18 years old. He/she is unmaried and has no children. Until coming to college, he/she lived at home with mom and dad -- he/she may still live at home.

He is not a veteran and has never really had a full-time job (though he may think he had a full-time job). Her car was provided by mom and dad and they probably pay the insurance for it too.

She will probably schedule her classes on the main campus between 8:30AM and 4:30PM. Evenings are for social time and school never extends into the weekend. She'll complete her degree in 8-10 semesters; all done consecutively, but will rarely take summer session courses.


So, some characteristics of non-traditional students. We didn't all finish high school and immediately enter college. Some didn't finish high school with their class. Some have been attending college part-time for many years.

Many are married or have children. Some are veterans. Most have been out into the world of full-time work and felt a need to return and start/finish college.

For the most part, we are over 25 years-old. Some are 30 or 40 or 50 or 60. Some have children the same age as their new classmates. Those of us over 40 rarely try out for the football team - though I wouldn't mind seeing more 30-something cheerleaders.

Many schedule their classes after 4:30PM and on weekends. Most don't see any difference between Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters -- a semester is a semester.

We don't really care about the latest in fashion trends. Pink is not the new black. Most of us don't get excited about the idea of an all night kegger either.

Generally, we find any grade below an A to be an indicator that we didn't work hard enough. Anything below a B is unacceptable. Since we're paying for an education, we expect professors to deliver -- we generally won't tolerate having our time wasted.

Very few rely on mom and dad for a place to live or money. They make the bill payments and have to work full-time odd hours to do so. We have to find funding for our tuition too. It's tough.

Some have more in common with their professors than they do with their classmates.


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