Traditional vs Non Traditional

Robyn CampbellCampbell 1 English 101 Professor Beckham March 19, 2013 Traditional Students vs. Non Traditional Students A non traditional student will transition into college better than a traditional student due to allotted responsibility and independence on their part. A non traditional student has a more serious approach where as a traditional student lacks focus in their first steps as an adult. The demographic of a student has changed over the years. A college student is not typically eighteen years old and living in a dorm on campus anymore.
A college student is over the age of twenty five and a single parent in some cases. They have family and financial obligations and possibly a full time job. Some may not even possess a high school diploma, but a GED. Both traditional and non traditional students have responsibilities outside of college. While the majority of students right out of high school will likely only have a part time job, students twenty five and older will be juggling far more. A traditional student will continue to live with parents and not worry too much financially.
As a non traditional student, not only will most have a full time job, but a family to care for, a mortgage, and a car payment on top of the class and homework time. It is estimated that only 13% of younger students are currently working vs. 60% of non traditional students (ACSFA 17). Although young adults have less baggage entering into college, they tend to think more socially and independent than academically. This brings up the topic of reputation. As a non traditional student, starting college can be frightening.

Most older students are friendly, but outgoing and wanting to make friends with everyone in class is not top priority on the list. As a young adult transitions from high school, a social atmosphere, college is considered to be no different. Some students from certain high schools will attend the same college so social hour continues. As far as a non traditional student, grades are more important than making a best friend or being invited to parties. As a younger student, social life could set you back. As an older student, this has already been achieved and allows for more participation due to more life experience.
There are challenges in life that can throw anyone off the right track. Unfortunately, adding college into the mix only makes it that much harder. Challenges can be very much related to responsibility and how a student is affected socially. Non traditional students worry about not fitting in where traditional students worry more about making it to class on time, wether even at all. As a student returning to college after several years, there is anxiety and a fear that this is the last chance to make something of yourself.
If you just got out of high school, chances are there was hardly any studying going on there, so why start now? At the same time an older student needs to juggle school, a job, and family, a younger student needs to juggle school, a job, and maintain a social life. As a young adult, the social life is what is the most distracting, leading to missed classes and poor grades. Transitioning from high school to college can be just as difficult as being out of high school for several years and starting college. Independence is the key part of starting college.
As a young adult, this means adjusting to your own schedule and now being able to do as you please. As an older adult, this means more responsibility added to the list. Age difference will determine on adjusting to college. Some will argue that the young crowd is very immature. They may adjust socially, but they do not see this as an adult experience. Arriving on time may have been a slap on the wrist in the past, but what they don’t realize is now it’s nothing but time and money. Someone who has had independence for longer than a year is going to see college similar to having started a career already.
Focusing in class and on assignments is harder for a traditional student than a non traditional student. After taking care of social time at night, a younger student is less likely to come to class, let alone pay attention. Due to lack of time because of the overwhelming feeling of too much going on, young adults take less time to complete assignments to the best of their ability. As a non traditional student, school comes first. Good grades are important and attendance is needed to maintain the required academic standards.
The only thing on a young students mind is getting by with the bare minimum and getting a job somewhere. Students who have spent most of their working days at a dead end job, barely supporting themselves and their family are looking for a career to help them adjust to the economy as it changes frequently. Focus goes along with how a student does academically. Although some may say, non traditional students have less time to study, traditional students make it less of a priority. To do well academically, study time is required. Time management is very important to achieve this on top of all other aspects of life.
A non-traditional student does not have the luxury of wasting time. This is a time to learn and may be their last time to work hard and have a decent career. The government offers financial aid to almost everyone. Parents of this past generation have made sure they went to college themselves and were able to provide for their children. Several scholarships during high school are given out. That is not the case for older, more independent students. There isn’t a free ride involved when you go back to college after years of working a full time job.
In Marion Bowl’s, Experiencing the barriers: non-traditional students entering higher education, she states that these financial hurdles delay the progress of non traditional students (p. 157). There isn’t any help from parents. As an older adult, realizing the amount of money that is being used for your education and knowing it will come out of your pocket wether now or in the future, makes it that much more important to do well. It is not fun to pay for college later on and have nothing to show for it. With the continued help of our college professors and mentors, non traditional students will do better than they are now in school.
Doing things the old fashion way may be the route taken, but it allows for proper learning, reading, and writing. Taking a short cut just to get the work done does not necessarily mean a good grade or a future career. Works Cited Bowl, Marion. “Experiencing the barriers: non traditional students entering higher education. ” Research Papers and Education 16. 2 (2001): pp. 141-160. Web. 10 March 2013. Advisor Committee on Student Financial Assistance. Pathways to Success. Washington D. C. Advisor Committee. 2012. Print.

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