Tired of low paying jobs without opportunities for advancement, Travis Robinson, a radiology major, decided to attend Lorain County Community College at age 37.
“I came back to college to pursue a good career that pays well. I’m tired of the rat race of low paying jobs,” Robinson said. This seems to be the driving force for returning non-traditional students.
College can be a difficult decision for anyone. According to nbcnews.com, “About 17% of returning college students are 35 and over.” Most students attend right out of high school, others much later in life, but the goal to obtain higher learning seems the same: better jobs, advancing knowledge and discovering different life interests.
“When I was in high school, I came down with an illness and I wasn’t able to go to college immediately,” said Richard Narrows, 29, a sports, health, and fitness major. “After years of battling it and getting my life back together, I decided college was the only way to have the future I wanted.” He was happy with the reception he received upon his return. “Shockingly it went well,” Narrows said. “There were younger kids but, surprisingly, there were more people my age, also.” His interaction with professors has been good as well. “The teachers have been very helpful and easy to be in contact with.”
“I think it’s cool some older people come back to college,” said LCCC student Patrick Riley, 19. “Some come to just take classes, but most come to further their careers or better [it]. I think it’s admirable,” Riley, a criminal justice major, stated. According to inquirersjournals.com, “by 2019, college entry by ‘adult learners’ (age 25 and older) is expected to increase by up to 28%. The reasons vary, but are generally attributed to the needs of individuals to sustain employment with salaries that will afford a decent standard of living for themselves and their families.”
Dennis Walters, an academic advisement specialist at LCCC, sees both nontraditional and traditional students to help guide them on their journeys. “With [the] nontraditional students, we tend to see people with more life experience and have a clearer direction to go with their studies; whereas, the traditional students may need more guidance,” Walter said.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2011),” nontraditional students have a slightly longer completion to graduation rates due to families, lack of technology experience and work scheduling. Thus, identifying barriers to college completion is imperative to reversing this trend. Proactive intervention, the strategies that address challenges before they negatively impact an entity, requires that academic institutions align their services with the needs of nontraditional students.”
No matter the type of student, non-traditional or traditional, each is really attending LCCC for one reason: personal success at any age.