I have wondered about this a lot. Nontraditional students seem to be exploding as a group on campuses. Yet only the best of schools seem to be noticing and are "Nontrad-friendly."
1. A nontraditional student group - something already made up that nontraditional students can join as their very own group. A meeting place with a couch, chairs, tables, computers, etc. would also be nice.
2. Help with child care. If a campus or school can't or won't provide child care so parents can attend school, they should help find good child care for nontraditional students.
3. A way of helping nontraditional students get acclimated. This could be a Nontrad Welcome Class, a course including computer use and a brush-up on study skills, and an introduction to all the areas of the school.
4. A consciousness-raising campaign to welcome nontraditional students to the school. Many younger people don't really know what to think about older people going to "their" school. It would help to let them know that older people are more like them than different. Schools should emphasize what good things nontraditional student add to the mix.
5. Student housing for everyone - undergraduates, graduates, and families with children.
6. Social clubs that include nontraditional students. Social life can enhance the educational experience so much - and so can the diversity of having nontraditional students involved in every aspect of the schools they attend.
If you are a nontraditional student, know that you DO have choices, especially today. Distance learning has eliminated some barriers to classes and made more choices for students.
But nontraditional students still need to do their research and ask questions, like "do you have a nontraditional student club?" and "what special things do you do for nontraditional students?"
Things like counseling just for nontraditional students and a helping hand to get and stay acclimated can mean so much - even the difference between completing their work and dropping out.
Some good examples of schools that I feel are Nontraditional Student friendly are: The University of Wisconsin College system, and The University of Kentucky (has family housing).
Many other trade schools, community colleges, universities, and colleges are offering great programs for their nontraditional students. I want to thank them, and hope that other schools will consider going the extra mile for nontraditional students too.
Some of my links!
The Wisconsin Nontrad Page
The Kentucky Nontrad Page
The Nontrad site and blog
The Betsyanne page and blog
My Squidoo Pages and referral