Due to the current increase of nontraditional students attending higher ed institutions, the student life cycle has evolved. When beginning to think about applying to college, traditional students have many avenues they can choose from in order to get information. Nontraditional students however, are much more limited. First generation students, for example, might not be able to go to their parents for help during the application process, for the simple reason that their parents had never applied to college or university themselves.
Unlike traditional students who will apply to multiple institutions, such as ivy-leagues, regional schools and fall-back schools, nontraditional students often don’t have the resources to submit as many applications.
Further on into the student life cycle, we can see differences between tradition and nontraditional students in how they approach studying for exams. While a traditional student might join a study group, go to the library and see his/her professors in person, a nontraditional student is often left to study alone due to time restrictions. Some nontraditional students might be working part-time jobs, leaving them with no time to visit their professors in person, so they must turn to email.
Even after exams are over, graduating can be a completely different experience for traditional and nontraditional students. While most traditional students will attend the graduation ceremony, picking up their diploma in person, nontraditional students often have other commitments and would rather have their diploma delivered.
Similarly to how the student lifecycle has evolved, higher ed institutions must take action to accommodate both traditional and nontraditional students alike. Gone are the days that colleges and universities can offer a single higher ed model; they must personalize the student experience, tailoring it to the needs of the individual.