Nontraditional students bring diversity and experience to campus


More and more people in the later stages of life are returning to the classroom. Nontraditional students are on the rise.

“It’s a common thing for the university to get any aged students back looking for degrees,” said Bob Sampsel, admissions counselor. “I try and help people come back to school and get their education.”

Michele Robinson, a sophomore psychology major, falls under the category of nontraditional student. Educating herself later in life has become a major goal.

Nontraditional student Louis Powers, freshman double major in bible & theology and philosophy, lives in Haviland Hall. (Photo courtesy of Louis Powers)

“I’m back at college to fulfill a dream that was put on the back burner for a long time,” Robinson said.

There was a time when Robinson put her family first, before her education, but she believes that her opportunity has now arisen.

“I am here at the right place and the right time for whatever God wants me to do,” Robinson said.

Louis Powers, freshman double major in bible & theology and philosophy, has come to college for a second chance to jump-start his career.

“My experience here has been very positive and the students in my dorm keep me young,” Powers said.

He said his experience has looked different than that of other traditional students.

“My professors do treat me different because I am closer to their age, but not in a negative way,” Powers said. “It seems that they expect more out of me and want me to speak out, but that’s easy for me, so I enjoy it.”

Often, nontraditional students offer the campus a maturity and life experience that inspires the younger students.

Gerry Allen, a senior social work major, spends some of her time on campus helping younger students prepare for life after college by sharing her story.

“A lot of the things we talk about in my social work class, I have already experienced,” Allen said. “I enjoy sharing experiences that I have had with others and hope that they have helped some of the students realize what it is going to be like when they get out in the real world.”

It is never too late to pursue an education, as proven by these and other nontraditional students of various ages.  These education seekers come to the university setting not only to learn, but to add an element of wisdom to the campus culture.

Hannah Andersen is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.

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