Non-traditional students: Who are they?

Who is a traditional college student?  More than likely, a student who has been accepted to a college or university directly after graduating high school, right?  I’m not so sure anymore.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 71% of all U.S. undergraduates defy the college student stereotype, meaning students today average 25 years or older and are considered financially independent.   Some students work full-time jobs and go to school part-time, while others are single parents or high school dropouts and have financial responsibilities of their own.

Even though the typical college student has changed, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve or require the same assistance or opportunities that the “traditional” college student would as well.  Colleges want their students to succeed and many schools offer support to help the less-traditional students earn degrees.  For example, according to Maureen Amos, director of financial aid at Northwestern Illinois University, “not all students will qualify for federal aid, but they still may be eligible for state grants or scholarships offered through the university.  Students need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to even be considered for those funds.”  The goal for any school or university is to assist the students with the greatest needs with whatever they may be eligible for.

Besides financial assistance, there are several other initiatives schools take to help “non-traditional” students thrive.  Sullivan University, for example, is a career university.  The curriculum focuses on career topics from the beginning of the degree programs so students, especially non-traditional students, can concentrate on what they want to learn about from day one instead of wasting their time taking classes that don’t apply to their career specialization.

Furthermore, Sullivan University prides itself on individual attention.  Students take classes with 30 students or less in each classroom.  They only have a four-day class week, which is very flexible to schedule between day, evening and online classes.  On Friday, private tutoring with their actual instructors is available as well.  These operational differences allow students to receive a more personal experience throughout their degree program. This assists them in maintaining their grades and continuous enrollment.

So whether you are just out of high school, have taken two years off and are coming back to school, or are a single parent and only taking one class at a time, a student is a student.  Every college or university wants to help you succeed.  You don’t have to face the obstacles alone.  We are here to guide you through your educational journey and help you achieve the goal you set out to accomplish.  When it is all said and done, the biggest reward is seeing our students graduate and receive their degrees.  Our business is changing your “traditional” or “non-traditional” life for the better.

About the author:

Kelli Casagrande has worked at Sullivan University for three years and currently serves as a high school admissions officer. Prior to her tenure at Sullivan, Kelli was the marketing and media coordinator for Baptist Health Systems in Madisonville, KY.  She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication and a minor in Marketing.  She also received her Master’s of Science degree in Management from Sullivan University this past spring.

Kelli is a member of the board for Moore Traditional High School, concentrating on their business curriculum, as well as a member of the board for the Youth Leadership Committee for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  She enjoys spending time with her husband, Dan, and their two-year-old yellow lab, Benny.




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