ERIC Number: ED243361
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Older College Student--A Changing Tradition.
Epstein, Howard V.
Personal characteristics of adult undergraduates who are 36 years old and older were studied. A sample of 24 adult students from a state-supported, urban university were interviewed/taped, and audio recordings were reviewed for descriptions of sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics. The dominant student profile was of a 44-year-old white, married woman, enrolled part time, who entered the university as a transfer student. Critical life incidents that precipitated college enrollment were related to important turning points within the life span. Motivation for seeking a college degree was related primarily to a lifelong valuing of learning while possibly improving job opportunities. Affordable tuition, availability of certain major programs of study, and convenient scheduling influence institutional choice. Being older than most undergraduates was not perceived as a hindrance; rather, the maturity of adulthood was viewed as an enabling factor. Data on the characteristics of the sample are provided, including respondents' occupation; educational levels attained by mother, father, spouse; learning motivations; and factors affecting college choice. Frequencies are indicated for specific learning motivations that are categorized as learning oriented, goal oriented, and activity oriented. Case studies and a bibliography are included. (Author/SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (68th, New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 1984).