Since I’m a student, and since every single professor I’ve ever had warns students away from Wikipedia for serious research, I probably have no business writing what I’m about to write.
Go there anyway.
Behold, an entry about non-traditional students! Basically, as non-traditional students, we’re starting college later or returning after a break, we have jobs and families to support, and some of us may not have graduated high school.
I would add a couple things to that list. First, we’re commuting students; we’re not likely to be living on campus since we have those families and jobs that make us non-traditional in the first place. Another thing is we’re probably taking advantage of the kinds of distance learning technologies I wrote about earlier for at least part of our course work. Why? Because things like online classes means a busy non-traditional student has more time for those families and jobs. I’d say that non-traditional education and distance learning are natural partners. They go together like unicorns and glitter, to quote Flo, my favorite kooky insurance seller (who is also an entry in Wikipedia).
But wait! There’s more!
In my online meanderings I’ve come upon a trendy-groovy nickname for we non-traditional students are doing. We’re nontrads! I agree with what this blogger has to say about qualities she’s noticed in “typical” nontrads, and I’d add that most nontrads I know are amazing multi-taskers and time management experts. This is especially true of those students who have little children in their particular school/work/family mix.
So. My experience is now an accepted term in the lexicon. There’s even a cool, techy-sounding name to get around the unwieldy “non-traditional student” label. Makes me feel like I’m an important part of academic culture and not just some middle-aged mommy taking classes.