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Providing a Freshman Seminar Course for Nontraditional Students NACADA Region 10 Albuquerque, NM March 1, 2011
Presenter Introduction • Nontraditional student • Single mom • First generation • Underprepared • Graduated in 2007 • Currently advisor for many nontraditional students
University Connections (USU 1010) • Spin-off From Traditional Course • Ten-Week Course • Two Graded Credits • Target Areas of Concern • Build Confidence • Create Network and Unity
Nontraditional Student Defined • Traditional student definition (easy) • Nontraditional student definition (complicated) • My definition . . . . .
Traditional Students • The “traditional” college student is easy to define: just transitioning from teen to adult, these students graduate from high school, live at college, attend classes full-time, and graduate with a degree four years later. • Many have their education paid for by scholarships, financial aid, or parents and do not need to worry about funding their education.
Nontraditional Students • Nontraditional students are full-time employees and full-time parents; military personnel and veterans; stay-at-home moms and home-schooled students. • They go to school part-time and full-time, online and in the classroom. The only quality they share is that they’re typically older than the “traditional” student.
Nontraditional Demographics • Gap in Education • Married Parents • Single Parents • Veterans • Vocational Rehabilitation • First Generation • Multicultural • Unemployed, under-employed, job at risk
Characteristics of Entering Nontraditional Freshman • Nervous • Low self-confidence • Financial stress • No extra time to get involved on campus • Feel alone • Feel old • Feel completely clueless • Find it difficult to meet people
Barriers to Success • Family circumstances • Financial difficulties • Employment • Health and wellness • Underprepared • Caring for children • Relearning how to study • Remembering everything • Feeling alone • Inadequate computer skills
Course Outline Highlights • Computer & technical overview • Time management/goal setting • Balancing work, school, family, personal time • Campus resources & tour • Library resources & tour • Policies & procedures • Health & wellness with family focus • Managing stress & building confidence • Family finances & financial aid • Major requirements and degree plans • Academic skills • Nontraditional Student Organization
Course Strong Points • Learning about campus resources • General education requirements • Get answers easily about other classes as well • Academic planning • Informal forum for problems and concerns
Course Weak Points • Organization of subjects • Academic resources first • Organizing groups to attend campus events • Intimidating to go alone • More detailed tours of campus and student resources
Marketing the Course • Nontraditional SOAR • Flyer • University advisors • Email to new students • Clearer distinction T/NT • Point more from website • Youtube (like traditional)
Student Testimonials • “I loved the format of this class. As a 26-year-old professional, I would not have liked being in a class with thirty 18-year-olds. Yet I need this information more than they do.” • Jennifer Wagstaff
Student Testimonial • “It has helped me to realize that I am not the only one that has problems like feeling old or alone. I feel like I already have a support group of my peers.” • Matthew Stevenson
Student Testimonial • “My brother is a nontrad student at (another Utah University) and he had to figure out all of this stuff on his own. I learned more about USU in the first four weeks than he learned in his whole first year.” • Janelle M. Secklestewa
Presenter Information Vicky Pope Academic Advisor Utah State University firstname.lastname@example.org With honorable mention to the USU 1010 class members