Five Ways for Nontraditional Students to Get Connected...

A big "hi" today goes out to nontraditional students, people learning about nontraditional students, and people THINKING about becoming nontraditional students.

More and more nontraditional students are going back to school. They are changing the face of high schools, trade schools, colleges, and universities across the nation.

Some ideas I have today include social networking for nontraditional students. Today, there are more opportunities for social networking than ever for nontraditional students, a lot more than I knew about when I first went back to school. Social networking can get you connected to friends, information, and support. It can also help you STAY in school.

Here are five different ways to get connected:

1. Start a networking group at your school. If there is not a club or group at your school, you can start one. Just go to the administration and request one. You can put up flyers, or place a small ad in the school newspaper or even online. If there already is a group for nontraditional students at your school, join it.

2. Join a group or talk on a forum online. There are some GREAT groups on line now that can give support to you and answer your questions about going back to school. I am the moderator of a Yahoo group called the Yahoo Nontrads Group. You can sign up and talk there with other nontraditional students from across the country. Also, I have a forum that is part of the Nontrad website, which lists groups from all over.

Other people have started excellent sites for nontraditional students too. One is called Return to College, and another is called Returning to School.

3. Join the leading national nontrads group, ANTSHE, by yourself or with your group. This is a national organization. ANTSHE offers a yearly conference and a great website, too.

4. Join a newsgroup. Just look up "Nontraditional Students" on Yahoo groups, AOL People Connection, Facebook groups, MySpace groups, Google groups, AARP groups, Ning groups, or groups in other places. You will be surprised how many groups are available all over.

5. Do "Live" social networking. After you have joined or started a Nontraditional Student group at your school, you can form another kind of group, a study group at your school. You can make one for each class if you want. Not only will you be able to get better grades because you are studying with others, you will also make friends in the group, which will make classes more fun

Being in a group can really help a student feel connected, and increases the chance a nontraditional student will continue AND graduate.

My advice: give joining a group a try!

Find out more:

Check out the ANTSHE site
Find out if there is a Nontrad group at your school (scroll down to map)

Join a Nontrad Group or Newsgroup:
Adults Returning to College/University (a Ning group)
Return to College (a Ning group)
The Yahoo Nontrad group

More groups (not just for nontrads):
Fab 40's and Beyond (a Ning Group)
TBD on Ning

Sources and resources:
The E-Learning Queen talks about retention
Retention Tips/Keys to Success from Florida Atlantic University
Nontraditional Students form a support group at Marshall University, WV
Nontraditional Students (and their needs) by the Eric Digest  

Other blog posts you might like:
Study Groups
More about Study Groups

Some of my links!
The Yahoo Nontraditional Student group
The Nontraditional Student website
The Nontraditional Student blog
My Personal site - the Betsyanne page
The Betsyanne blog - The Moon and the Willow Tree
My Squidoo Pages (give me a rating if you have time!)
(My referral) Join Squidoo if you don't already have a page