When we think about going back to school for undergraduates, most people think of traditional students who are young, single and have school as their priority. Images like living in the dorms, frat parties, football games, late-night pizza to fuel cramming sessions come to mind. However, there is an increasing amount of nontraditional students returning to college.
A nontraditional student has at least one of the following attributes: over 25 years old, attends college part time, works full time, is financially independent, has dependents, or did not graduate from high school (1). While nontraditional students have a growing presence in higher education, most colleges and universities are still catering to the needs of the traditional student. This lack of support is a concern since nontraditional students are imperative to the success of both higher education and the American economy.
These older students have to balance job, family, finances, commutes, childcare, and academic challenges, all at the same time. They deserve academic support just like their younger peers. Here’s our list of tips to help with going back to school as a nontraditional student.
Before starting a program or if you are in a program be sure to have a supportive and helpful network of family,friends and colleagues. Have clearly defined career or personal growth goals when entering college as an adult. If possible, make sure your employer respects and honors your school schedule.Coordinate with family members to make sure morning routines are set,childcare is arranged and car schedules are planned out in advance. Take advantage of office hours and schedule time with a professor.When meeting with a professor introduce yourself, share your life experiences and current goals. Get to know your classmates, share your life experience and make new friends.
Look at the class syllabus as soon as you receive it. Use an electronic calendar and setup reminders in the calendar when exams or major projects are due. Plan ahead for exams, papers and major projects that require a lot of time and effort. Wake up early even on days off. Studies have shown people that wake up early have a higher GPA than those that do not (2).
Light Awake feels nontraditional students are modern-day heroes, admiring the work and sacrifice they make each day to achieve their goals. To help them stay on top of their many responsibilities and busy schedules, we have designed an alarm clock to help them wake up and start their day feeling refreshed and recharged.