One out of 10 students at Dillard is considered to be a non-traditional student by age, according to university statistics.
Assistant Registrar Robert Mitchell Jr. said 103 of the 988 students at Dillard this semester are 25 years old or older. The youngest in the group is 25 and the oldest student on campus is 55.
The National Center for Education Statistics said that while no one definition for the term “non-traditional student” exists, age is a common element in most definitions.
Mitchell said the three most sought-after majors by this student subgroup are nursing, mass communication and business management. Nursing has 28 such majors;
mass communication and business management have nine each; and a variety of others have six or less, he said.
Nearly 42 percent, or 43 students, are seniors; 25.2 percent, or 26, are juniors; 9.7 percent, or 10, are sophomores; and 8.7 percent, or nine students, are freshmen.
Barnes-Teamer said the non-traditional student generally has one or more personal challenges that can make or break his or her college career. These may include dependents and a fulltime job.
Nevertheless, she said, non-traditional students typically are very motivated and determined. Although they may “stop out,” finding it necessary to skip a semester for various reasons, they rarely drop out, she said.
Meshawn Cook, a 29-year-old nursing major, who has already acquired bachelor’s degree in accounting, said her biggest challenge is insufficient financial aid.
Eucharia Agwarangbo, a nursing major who in her mid 30s who also has an accounting degree already, said time management is her biggest problem. Agwarangbo said there is never enough time for her to be student, mother and wife. Having a family, she said, makes attending college much harder this time around.
Erica Riggs a mass communication major, said staying focused on her studies is her major concern.
“It is hard to stay focused on your classes when you have to work to pay your bills and be a full-time student,” she said, adding the outcome will be worth it.