College can be challenging for most people, but for a non-traditional student who may also be a mother, homemaker and employee, school can be especially trying and stressful. We need much more support from many different sources than traditional students because they have a much higher chance of dropping out due to stresses, family obligations and work obligations. Support from family, friends and instructors become an absolute necessity for a non-traditional student to succeed in college.
Family and home support stand as vital components in a non-traditional student?s success. Students need help with daily chores and tasks around the house as they embark on the path of continuing their education. As a non-traditional student myself, I have many responsibilities I must deal with on a daily basis. I have two children, one in Headstart and one in daycare, and I also live with my sons? father, Jason, also a non-traditional student here at Missouri Western State University. We all have enormously different schedules and we must work together to make everyone?s various activities work out. We also have to coordinate our schedules with school for our son, Jason and myself, and work for both Jason and I. Our house work has become exceedingly difficult to keep up with. With Jason?s help, I am able to get all the housework done. Our families support us in our paths to further education by taking the kids e extremely once in a while so we can study.
Encouraging words go a long way in the emotional support that many non-traditional students do not actually realize they need but really appreciate. As well as encouraging words, non-traditional student needs additional strength from their family and friends. One way that family can provide additional support by providing childcare, to allow quiet study time for the student. Another way would include a family member possibly making a meal, such as a crock pot dinner, for the student and their family.
The friends of a non-traditional student become important factors in their path to success as well. They can help to provide a sense of calm in the storm of schooling. They can provide an ear for when a student becomes stressed with work, schooling and everyday responsibilities. Gilardi, and LGuglielmettiast quote Provasnik & Planty?s 2008 research of the National Audit Office, 2007, ?Many surveys show that the non-traditional students present a higher risk of dropping out.? They go on to state, ?According to the U.S. Department of Education has identified non-traditional students that have at least one of the following characteristics: delayed enrollment (does not enter postsecondary education in the same calendar year that the student finished high school); attends part time; works full time; is financially independent; has dependents other than a spouse; is a single parent; does not have a high school diploma? (Gilardi, and LGuglielmettiast). They can provide words of encouragement, that will help boost morale in a matter of speaking. Friends can also assist in providing child care and assisting with chores around the student?s home. I, as a non-traditional student, need to know that my family and friends stand there behind me for support as I continue down the road of my educational journey. I, as well as other non-traditional students, rely on those times where we can call on those people in our support systems when things get a little more than hectic. It cannot be stressed enough how important those times become, and how much the support happens to be greatly appreciated by myself as well as other non-traditional students all over. To know who our support systems include, as well as whom we can trust and rely on, ensue as vital keys to our success in our journey to furthering our education and bettering our future for ourselves and our families.
Another way that a non-traditional student can receive support on their path to success in their college career happens to be academic support from teachers. Instructors come about as another important necessity for the non-traditional student to have. They provide guidance for the student during their journey. ?The majority of these students are non-traditional, particularly mature, aboriginal, international, recent immigrant, first-generation, and visible minorities. Both universities and individual faculty members have been taking measures to help non-traditional students improve their skills and performance? (Hermida). They offer support for the student, in ways that a family member or friend might not be able to, such as providing information for other sources of assistance for the student. They coexist as a vital key in the success of non-traditional students. Instructors can also be able provide insight concerning the career path that the student has chosen for themselves. Professors provide insight such as personal experiences, as well as wisdom from years of being in that field themselves, which provides guidance and support vital to a non-traditional students success. There exist many different people who can be there to assist and guide non-traditional students along their paths to educational success.
Another individual that will be able to provide academic support to the non-traditional student include counselors at the school. They would be able to provide words of encouragement. They would also be able to assist the student when it came to the financial aspect of returning to school, such as assistance with financial aid, if needed. The counselor can assist the student with exploring many options for financial aid, such as student loans or government grants that may be available for the student.
Since non-traditional students come about as those whom return to school later in life, they require a somewhat different support system than traditional students. Explicit in this work come about the expectation that institutions will take responsibility for the quality of the learning environment they offer. Tinto?s early work identified lack of academic and social engagement as central to attrition? (Benseman, Coxon, Anderson, and Anae). They require many of the same avenues of support, such as family, friends and academically, but perhaps in a slightly different manner than that of the traditional student. Non-traditional students need more constant, reassuring support as they have more to deal with than traditional students do.
I am incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful and understanding family, and many friends to whom I can call on for support during this crucial time in my journey to success. I am also fortunate to have Jason around for an added support system when it comes to providing care for my two children. Whether the care involves picking up or dropping off at head start or daycare, assisting in bath time, bedtime or providing meals, I know that I have an extra person in my home to help ease the stresses.
It has become important that I try my best to maintain as much normalcy in my home as possible, for my children. Although it can be a challenge at times, a healthy home environment must be provided for my children. Making sure to spend quality time with them, and maintaining a daily schedule remain quintessential to providing normalcy for my children as well as those in other non-traditional student homes. I am fortunate to have Jason at home to assist in this important part of our lives. As some non-traditional students may not have that extra support structure in their homes.
I feel that whether or not a non-traditional student wants to admit it, they rely heavily on their support systems. No matter the route in which the support transpires to them. Jason and I happen to be lucky to have the support systems in place that we do. Without them, our success as non-traditional students will not be possible. We remain lucky to be able to count on each other when it comes to needing extra support at home. As I mentioned earlier, housework had become quite the chore, where Jason and I happen to both be students. Dividing all the chores up between us helps a great amount, and helps to equal out the stresses. One person has not become responsible for all the house work. This makes it easier on both of us, because we finish the chores quickly, which allows for extra study time, as well as time for each of us to complete homework for our various classes.
Work responsibilities stands as another reason for non-traditional students to have stress.. Many continue working at least part-time, while being full-time students. ?The patterns and intensity of studying and the interaction between study and other major commitments, including in particular, work, domestic and social? (Schuetze, and Slowey). Some non-traditional students even work a full 40 hours a week job, have a family and still be enrolled as a part time student. A way to help ease that stress come to pass may be again lean on the support systems, which should be in place to help non-traditional students. Don?t be afraid to ask them for help when you need it, no matter how big or small it seems to be.
In conclusion, there exist many types of support for non-traditional students available, a few of which have been mentioned above but support from family and friends become present as an absolute necessity for a non-traditional student to succeed in college. These support systems need to be in place to help ensure the success of the student. The student needs to be able to rely on these people, to ease the stresses of being in school while working, and trying to provide for their own families.
Gilardi, FSilviairst, and FiChiararst LGuglielmettiast. “University Life of Non-Traditional Students: Engagement Styles and Impact on Attrition.” . The Journal of Higher Education, 01012011. Web. 2 Apr 2012.
Hermida, Julian. “Inclusive Teaching: An Approach for Encouraging Non-Traditional Student Success” . The International Journal of Research and Review, 01092010. Web. 2 Apr 2012.
Benseman, John, Eve Coxon, Helen Anderson, and Melani Anae. “Retaining non-traditional students: lessons learnt from Pasifika students in New Zealand.?. Higher Education Research & Development, 01052006. Web. 2 Apr 2012.
Schuetze, Hans G., and Maria Slowey. “Participation and Exclusion: A Comparative Analysis of Non-Traditional Students and Lifelong Learners in Higher Education.” Higher Education 44.3/4 (2002): 309-327. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Apr. 2012.