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Nontraditional Student Populations
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The Non-Traditional Student Populations Network is focused on providing education, leadership, and a forum for discussion on behalf of professionals working to improve college student orientation, transition and retention for non-traditional students. The non-traditional student population is vast, diverse, and evolving. It is made up of students identifying as any combination of: part-time, adult learners, returning/re-entry, commuter, veteran, online/distance learners, individuals who work full-time, who have dependents other than a spouse or partner, or students who do not have a high school diploma.

A major focus of Non-Traditional Student Populations Network activities is to identify how effective orientation, transition and retention programs help non-traditional students optimize their first term and first year experience. Issues addressed range from the "transition to campus process" to the identification of effective student service delivery methods for this student audience. Participants gain practical information and resource materials on how to create, implement and maintain events that non-traditional student populations. Network members are encouraged to present sessions on non-traditional student population topics at regional and annual conferences. All participants are encouraged to contribute research, scholarly case studies and applied practice articles to be shared within the membership of the Network, and more broadly to the larger NODA membership depending on the topic.

Who are Non-Traditional Students?
The Non-Traditional Student Populations Network defines the non-traditional student as anyone who is not a first-time, full-time, straight out of high school, living in residence, college student. This means that any student that identifies as any one or more of the following categories is non-traditional:

  • part-time
  • non-degree
  • re-admit and re-entry
  • commuter
  • veteran
  • adult learners (25 years and over)
  • senior citizens
  • online/distance learners
  • works full-time while enrolled
  • has dependents other than a spouse/partner
  • does not have a high school diploma (completed a GED or equivalent or did not finish high school)

Some categories were included based on a 1996 study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It should be noted that the interests and needs of international students are being addressed by NODA’s International Student Network. It should be noted that the interests and needs of transfer students are being addressed by NODA’s Transfer Student Network.

Please note: this is a working definition, and will evolve over time.

Useful Nontraditional Student Resources on the web:
Please join our network, as we help NODA members best serve the non-traditional student population on each of our campuses.

Non-Traditional Student Online Resources:

Already a network member? To access your regional or network groups, select the "Communities" drop-down menu on the NODA Connect homepage. Click here to join the network.

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Grabowski
Kutztown University

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