ERIC Number: ED310686
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr-21
Non-Traditional Students: Adults in Transition.
Nordstrom, Brian H.
Various issues related to the undergraduate education of adults are addressed. Adult learners comprise an increasingly greater proportion of the college student population, and these older students differ from traditional college students in significant ways, including their stages of development in life, value systems, outside responsibilities, and learning characteristics. The perspectives related to characteristics and special needs of adult learners that should require college faculty, administrators, and student services personnel to re-evaluate how they relate to the increasingly greater number of non-traditional students on campus are discussed. The focus of this paper is on demographic trends in the adult population, stages of adult development, values shared by adult learners, and characteristics and special needs of adult learners. It has been observed that adults who return to college tend to be in transition and experiencing crises in their lives (e.g. divorce, unemployment, or geographic relocation). They tend to be sacrificing more than younger students to attend college and to be highly motivated yet lacking in confidence to succeed. Their developmental stages, values, study skills, and life experiences differ sufficiently from those of younger students that colleges should rethink their philosophies of teaching and foci of student services to meet the divergent needs that adult students have. Contains 24 references. (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A