Adult learners provided guidance in their first semester

Shannon Kennedy, [email protected], is a Senior, mass media major.

With the start of a new semester, there also come new students to Washburn University, some new to the college experience or coming back after a long period of being out in the workforce or family obligations.

Many of these new students are considered non-traditional or adult learners. Whatever the title is that you use to describe them, adult learners are becoming the largest number of students at universities around the nation.

At Washburn Univeristy, the definition of a non-traditional student is anyone over 25 years old.

But typically, the definition of non-traditional student is a little more complex but still includes age.

  • Delays enrollment (does not enter postsecondary education in the same calendar year that he or she finished high school)
  • Attends part-time for at least part of the academic year
  • Works full-time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled
  • Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid
  • Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but may also be caregivers of sick or elderly family members)
  • Is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents)
  • Does not have a high school diploma (completed high school with a GED or other high school completion certificate or did not finish high school)

To cater to the growing number of adult learners, the Student Life office, Center of Academic Success and the Washburn Non-Traditional Student Organization will be holding an information session on Jan. 28, 2014 at 5 p.m. in Washburn Room B. There will be refreshments and the option for a campus tour will be available after the session.

The information session will allow all students that are considered non-traditional at Washburn, the opportunity to meet other, like students, and also to introduce them to services available to them at Washburn.

Such as Financial Aid, Career Services and Center for Student Success (advising, tutoring and testing). The invite was sent out to roughly 1,500 people that fit the criteria of being a non-traditional student.

Jeromy Naethe, the treasurer for the Washburn Non-Traditional student organization, Washburn NTA talks about the need for the info sessions.

“We held two (sessions) last semester and it enabled us to add more people to our group but also enabled us to learn what is needed on campus for non-traditional students.”

According to the faculty advisor of the non-traditional student organization on campus and director of academic success, Ann Callies “Adult learners are making up more and more of our population and Washburn recognizes the need to retain adult learners and by focusing on the student’s success, it creates the ability to support that.”

“I know when I started back at Washburn, I felt that I was alone and the fact that there was a group available to socialize with but also learn with meant I was not alone in the adventure of going back to school,” said Naethe.

The act of returning to school after being out for an extended period of time is not always easy to do and especially with the demands of being a parent, spouse or caretaker.

“That’s what we want to convey to people,” said Callies. “That they are not alone and they have support from Washburn and from other students that are in the same situation.”

The Washburn Non-Traditional student organization meets every week but alternates between Thursdays and Fridays each week in order to cater to those students that may work full-time.

The meeting will be held on Thrusday, Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. in the Thompson room located at the Union and on Friday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. alternating each week.

Visit Washburn’s Non-Traditional Facebook page