Four Major Challenges For Non-Traditional Students
Most students face challenges and setbacks along the path to a further education qualification, but in some ways non-traditional students have a more difficult journey than most. Adults returning to education later in life at least have the benefit of life experience in their favour. They perhaps adopt a more mature approach to their studies and time management than their younger classmates but the difficulties they face are still there to be tackled.
Here are some of the greatest challenges faced and overcome by non-traditional students.
1. Financial commitments
Successfully completing a degree course is not cheap. First of all there is the cost of the course itself to be considered; add to that additional expenditure on books, tuition, travel and even meals and the final total can be somewhat alarming. All this must be offset against the student’s existing living expenses and this can be a struggle especially when family and home outlay is added to the equation.
Student grants, loans and scholarship opportunities are often not available to non-traditional students and this makes the decision to commit to three years or more of college even tougher to make, despite the fact that a better paid job may result upon successful completion of the course.
The very process of enrolment with its incumbent form-filling and administrational hurdles can be off-putting for some non-traditional students. There are so many elements to take into account for the potential student; the registration process itself, financial outlay and even basic course selection for the desired degree or certificate program.
Enrolment in the higher education system is often easier for students who come from a family background where siblings or parents have attended university and can offer advice. College staff members are trained to guide students through the enrolment process and will be on-hand to answer any questions or queries that arise but the whole experience can still be very daunting, especially for non-traditional students.
Technology can be a major challenge for mature students, especially those who are unfamiliar with computers and the internet. Colleges almost exclusively offer learning systems which are online to enable students to undertake additional study and assessment exercises outside of the classroom environment. Much communication and social activity between classmates takes place via social networking sites or internal forums and students who cannot join in may feel isolated and excluded.
4. Self-belief and confidence
Regardless of their intelligence, grasp of technology and the academic tools provided for them, many non-traditional students simply lack the self-confidence and belief that they will be successful.
Very often non-traditional students give up their studies when faced with challenges that they do not believe they can overcome or when their motivation level dips. This is why it is vitally important that students are generously supported emotionally by their family and friends outside of college.
A student may be academically gifted but they will still need encouragement from their loved ones and constant reminders of why they decided to undertake the course in the first place, and how much better their life and the lives of their family will be if they stick to the task and gain the qualification they set their heart on achieving.