Home > Adult Education, Educational Leadership, Higher Education > The Changing Student Demographic: What You Need to Rethink

The Changing Student Demographic: What You Need to Rethink

From Academic Impressions

Increasingly, academic leaders are becoming aware that the traditional, 18-year-old high school graduate enrolling as a freshman at a four-year institution is a shrinking demographic. According to data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES):

Three -fourths of today’s college students are nontraditional

— 49 percent are enrolled part-time

— 38 percent work full-time

— 27 percent have dependents of their own at home

These adult learners interact with your institution — from admission to commencement and beyond — in ways markedly different from traditional students. A diverse, heterogeneous demographic, adult students comprise working mothers, career-aged adults seeking a career change or a safe harbor amid a troubled economy, military veterans, and adults of all ages returning to complete a degree. These nontraditional learners are often both hard-working and determined. Unless compensated by an employer, most are paying for their tuition out of their own pocket, and many are allocating time to their education that could be devoted to family, commitments within their community, or other career-building activities.

In other words, it’s likely that most adult students enrolling at your institution have the will to achieve and the will to complete a degree. Yet many unintentional barriers persist to a positive student experience at your institution — barriers that represent a series of missed opportunities as this population grows. Projects such as USA Today’s Take America to College (2010), which offers video recordings of nontraditional students describing their challenges, demonstrate how many adult students face difficulties in finding courses, advisers, and faculty that are attuned to their learning styles and schedules — and must wrestle with curriculum design and academic policies and procedures that were not designed with the needs of adult learners in mind.

Continued at: http://www.academicimpressions.com/monthly_diagnostic.php?i=209&q=9658r401869aS101

View the Video: “Take America to College”: http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/degrees-of-difficulty.htm

Read the Report: http://www.academicimpressions.com/hei_resources/1011-diagnostic.php?q=9658r401869aS99

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