Three Types of College Students sample essay

While there are many types of colleges, there are also types of college students. All over the country, three types can always be found. The traditional, the non-traditional, and the online college student are the types that will always be a part of the academic culture.

The first type of college student is the traditional student and this type is the one that is seen more than any other type. They are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four and intend to stay in school for four to six years. They usually leave high school and go straight on to college. To them, the young adult years are for school and preparation for their careers. Residing on campus is part of the lifestyle that is considered the “college experience” for the traditional college student.

By the end of the 1980’s, researchers had compiled a fairly clear picture of the formula for success for “traditional” college students, that is 18-22 year old non-minority students from middle-class backgrounds whose parents had attended college. (Strage)

Many times they join sororities or fraternities so that they can become a part of a group since many are living away from home for the first time. Doing this not only makes them a part of a family, but it can also give them connections for future career plans. They go to school full time and their education and social activities related to school are their main concern. Many work part time, but only for spending money, fees for social activities, and for experience for future jobs. Much to the dismay of parents and professors, no one can describe the traditional student without mentioning the fact that attending parties are part of the norm.

The second type of college students are the non-traditional ones and they are the fastest growing group in the college world. They are students who are usually older than twenty-four, live off campus, and have experienced a career. In fact many go part time because they work full time. Many jobs even finance the student’s college education. Even the ones that are young, they still live the majority of their life off campus. Married students fall into the category of non-traditional students as well as parents.

As the need for a college education becomes more and more necessary for a successful career, there will be even more non-traditional students. People, young and old, will realize that even if they do not have the time and funds to live the life of a traditional student, the education is essential. Students in this category are not just looking to their first career, but are looking for a career change instead. These students have given up the idea of having a social life on campus and the sorority and fraternity life for that of work and family as part of their daily life. Most of them have experienced life outside of school, therefore, they value the actual education and the gathering of knowledge that the traditional student takes for granted.

Another type of non-traditional student is the high school students who because they have met the requirements, are allowed to attend college. There are programs like Jump Start that will actually pay the tuition for high school students with high GPA’s so that they can take introductory and general education classes. Many of these non-traditional students later enroll as traditional students with a semester worth of credits before they are even considered college freshmen.

Even though they have grown drastically in numbers, non-traditional students have challenges facing them. They must rely on transportation to get to campus and colleges have not yet caught up with this growing number and have not supplied ample parking. Professors have a difficult time realizing that non-traditional students have much more in their lives than college life and this can get in the way of the work that is require from them even though they have learned the information.

The third type of college students are the online students and they are new to the college world. In the last decade the online university has grown. There are many of these universities that are accredited and some traditional colleges that now offer complete degrees online. Therefore, they are more attractive to those who just cannot attend a regular campus.

Online students may choose their own hours. They can manage a family, job, or waking preferences instead of attending classes during a scheduled time. They can even attend a class in the middle of the night if they choose. With rising gas prizes, this type of student will grow in huge numbers. All of the students who attend classes online are considered non-traditional. There is no campus life at all. So their social life must come from life outside of school. The online students must be self-disciplined people. They must be able to focus on their assignments and due dates on their own. That is why it is not for everyone.

Access to professors is also different that attending a traditional college. Email and programs like Blackboard allow the online student to contact the instructor, but there is no face to face relationship. If this is important for some to become successful, then an online campus is not for them.

There are at least three types of college students found today. It cannot be assumed that all college students share the same experience and under the same conditions. The important thing is not how people further their education, but rather that they are getting an education. Because of the differences of how classes are offered and who is accepted, it is now possible for anyone to get a degree.

Works Cited

Strage, Amy. “Traditional and Non-Traditional College Students’ Descriptions of the Ideal

Professor and the Ideal Course Perceived Strengths and Limitations.” The College Student Journal. 1, March 2008.