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Planning For Success: Seven Ways to Address the Challenges of Today’s Adult Learners

As you are probably aware, the new majority on college campuses is older—over 25 years of age. This group is aware of economic trends and workforce demands, and responded by enrolling in postsecondary institutions, either to complete the degree they started years ago, to pursue a new credential or to…

Attracting and Retaining Adults: Affordable Tuition Rates are a Must

Adult learners manage busy schedules, have endured more than one economic downturn, and are financially conscientious.  When busy adults pursue an education, they are seeking career advancement and economic freedom, not insurmountable debt. Colleges and universities can respond to price-sensitive adult applicants by understanding the realities they face, and employing…

Transforming Admissions To Sell the Dream to Today’s Non-Traditional Students

Simply, admissions owns the process of admitting students into a college or university.  But once you get below the surface, it’s not so simple. While some universities are famous for staving off the majority of applicants, the vast majority of admissions officers at colleges and universities today must do extensive…

Personalization Key to Attracting and Retaining Swirling Students

Administrators across the non-traditional educational space have known for years that our demographic has very unique needs and demands. One group that’s been growing in numbers over the past 10 years are the so-called “swirling” students: those who stop in and out of institutions, gaining credits as needed, on the…

Five Ways Institutions Can Create Experiences that Exceed Adult Student Expectations

At a minimum, higher education institutions are responsible for providing students with a quality education that adds value to their lives. While value can be measured in different ways, the majority of adult undergraduate students are enrolled for practical reasons, specifically for job preparation and/or career advancement. Michelle R. Weise…

Measure for Success: Maximizing Retention Across the Student Lifecycle

The academic and financial success of every certificate or degree program depends on student persistence and completion of the enrolled course of study. Students who do not complete their courses and programs cannot achieve the expected learning outcomes and earn the credentials and degrees that are so valuable for their…

Building Campus Pride Among Virtual Students

For years, we’ve heard that students who learn online cannot possibly develop the same affinity for the institutions they attend as their peers who study on campus. But from where I sit, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I see that attachment every year at commencement time…

Creating a Sense of Connection: Online Education in the Modern Era

Anyone going back to college will have myriad options, and one of the first choices a new student has to make is between an online program and a classroom experience. Many people naturally assume it will be more enjoyable to learn where students gather in a traditional classroom setting, but…

A Look at Academic Success Coaching: Impact on the Adult Student

Innovation in higher education is ongoing and includes specific, defined interactions with adult students beyond the classroom. Specifically, the model for academic advising has changed, and yet vestiges of the old way have remained for more than 144 years. This legacy is to the detriment of the adults. Advising has…

AUDIO | Addressing the Barriers to Success for Underserved Students

The following interview is with Omid Fotuhi, a project manager and researcher at the Stanford University’s Interventions Lab. Fotuhi’s work focuses on finding ways to scale interventions proven to boost students’ achievement and well-being, while narrowing group disparities, in the higher education context. In the first installment of this two-part…

AUDIO | Understanding Returning Students

The following interview is with Dave Jarrat, vice president of marketing at InsideTrack. InsideTrack was recently part of a major consortium of leading higher education groups, including the American Council for Education and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, investigating completion rates of non-traditional students, a statistic often not…

Three Steps to Improving Student Persistence through High-Touch Strategies

Keeping students on track to graduation is a key strategic performance metric for postsecondary institutions, and as many of us know, persistence is not easily achieved under the best circumstances. Further, many institutions are seeking a marginal change that will ensure graduation rates of 50 percent or more. Applying one-to-one,…

10 Ways To Help Your Online Students Feel at Home With Your Institution

The good news is that about 7 million college students will enroll in online courses this year. The bad news is that the retention rates for online students typically trail those of their on-campus colleagues.[1] There is evidence that stronger student support services — especially targeting the out-of-class experiences of…

Relationships = Retention: Embracing Non-Traditional Students on College Campuses (Part 2)

This is the conclusion of a two-part series by Devora Shamah on how institutions can better serve non-traditional students returning to higher education after stopping out of high school. In the first piece, she outlined some of the reasons why adults will return to higher education after dropping out of…

Relationships = Retention: Embracing Non-Traditional Students on College Campuses (Part 1)

Look around a typical college and you will see a great diversity of students working toward their postsecondary credentials and degrees. While some campuses still predominately serve students who have come directly from high school with the goal of completing college educations before entering the workforce and focusing on family…

Adults and the Higher Education Experience (Part 2)

The following is the conclusion of The EvoLLLution’s two-part email Q&A with Melora Sundt, executive vice dean and clinical education professor at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. In the first installment, Sundt discussed how the social learning experience that comes with the on-campus, face-to-face approach to…

AUDIO | Turning the Focus from Enrollment to Retention

The following interview is with Joni Finney, director of the Institute for Research in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Finney is an expert on the rapidly-changing postsecondary space. She recently shared her thoughts on…

AUDIO | Supporting Low-Income Students: Strategies for Retention and Success

The following is the conclusion of a two-part interview with Ben Castleman, assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia. Castleman has done a great deal of research on the summer melt phenomenon, and recently published research exploring a few strategies higher education institutions could put…

AUDIO | Supporting Low-Income Students: Challenges to Retention

The following is the first installment of a two-part interview with Ben Castleman, assistant professor of education and public policy at the University of Virginia. Castleman has done extensive research on the “summer melt” phenomenon, and recently published a paper exploring a few strategies higher education institutions could put in…

Using PLA to Improve Veteran Access, Retention and Completion

Many young men and women signed up for the military with a promise of access to educational benefits during their active duty and when they became veterans. Having served as a military liaison for several institutions, I understand the complexity and frustration of trying to navigate the multitude of benefits…

AUDIO | Better Information Critical for Adult Student Retention

The following interview is with James Osborn, a Marine Corps veteran and student at Penn State University. Osborn recently spoke about the value of accelerated evening classes for working adult students. In this interview, he discusses his educational journey and shares insights on how higher education could be restructured to…

AUDIO | Helping Bring Adult Students to the Mountain

The following interview is with Lorraine Prinsky, a trustee and past-president of the Coast Community College District (CCCD). One of the commuter colleges in the CCCD, Orange Coast College (OCC), recently acquired a plot of land to create campus housing. In this interview, Prinsky discusses the issue of campus housing…

AUDIO | Can High Retention Rates Drive Enrollment?

The following interview is with Mike Weigold, associate dean for undergraduate affairs and enrollment management at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. Weigold will be speaking at the upcoming Effective Marketing for Online Education Conference on the topic of improving retention and future enrollments through student experience…

AUDIO | Increasing Retention of At-Risk Adults

The following interview is with Steven VandenAvond, associate provost for outreach and adult access at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. VandenAvond recently gave a presentation at the UPCEA Central Conference on strategies higher education institutions can put into place to better support at-risk, non-traditional students. In this interview, VandenAvond expands…

Five Steps to Increase Retention

It is becoming increasingly important for higher education institutions to raise their retention and graduation rates; after all, public funding and consumer trust is increasingly hinging on those statistics. One important piece of advice is not to chase students who are on the way out. Chasing higher retention numbers can…

A Gallon of Milk or a Degree?

Your job is going well. You are in good health. You are able to handle all of your responsibilities. Your life is stable. Things couldn’t be better. Wouldn’t it be great if all your students could say the same? Unfortunately, many, if not most, of our students have many demands…

Looking to Tech-Literacy to Increase Retention

A returning non-traditional student recently approached our Dean of Students, Steve Hensley, to present her personal struggles transitioning back in to the college world. The student’s fear was that she was not as advanced technologically as younger students. We took this concern really seriously and acted fast. Hensley formed a…

Persistence Beneficial for Students and Institutions

Student persistence in higher education is becoming a more visible issue today. A proposed new federal rating system’s broad goal is to determine “how many students at an institution graduate, at a reasonable cost, without a lot of debt, and get a job that enables them to support themselves and their…

Academic Advising: A Critical Element to Adult Student Success

Today, few students studying at colleges and universities fit the image of a ‘traditional’ student. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, growth in the number of students over the age of 24 is far outpacing traditional-aged students. As a result of this shift in…

Three Major Changes for Higher Education Institutions

Recently, I have been reflecting on the most important changes colleges and universities must make to adapt to students behaving more like shoppers in the higher education marketplace. However, before I get to that, I must say I worked in retail for about 15 years and I am not suggesting…

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