College Students Shed Traditional Image
Career College Central summary:
The idea of a college student spending four luxurious, carefree years studying is sorely outdated. Of the more than 20 million students enrolled at thousands of two- and four-year colleges and universities across the nation, only about one-third fit the traditional description.
About 40 percent of all college students are older than 25, according to US Education Department data. More than a third attend classes part-time. Nearly 20 percent work full-time. About 60 percent enroll at four-year public and private schools, while the rest mostly attend community colleges or enroll at for-profit colleges. Very few attend the well-known universities topping the US News and World Report rankings.
As the number of traditional high school graduates shrinks, colleges increasingly have had to recruit from places other than high schools to keep their student numbers constant and ensure a steady stream of funding. Many schools have stepped up overseas recruiting — the number of international students increased 35 percent between 2000 and 2012 — and reached out to the ever-growing number of Hispanic students and wooed transfer students who collect credits from a number of colleges. They also are going after ‘‘nontraditional’’ students, a pool that continues to widen.
To be considered nontraditional, students must have at least one of these characteristics: delayed attending college, attends school part-time, works at least 35 hours a week, is financially independent, supports a family, is a single parent, or did not earn a formal high school degree.
‘‘Nontrads’’ often face many more challenges than traditional students, but when problems arise, it can be difficult or impossible to find help on campuses geared toward a younger crowd. Nontrads are at high risk for dropping out or taking far longer to graduate.
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THE WASHINGTON POST