Here are some things I believe Nontraditional Students should have to succeed. These things are also good for traditional students to have.
Personal qualities successful nontraditional students have:
Stick-to-it-iveness - this essential quality of not giving up in the middle of a project (or class!) is absolutely a must for nontraditional students. It prevents late assignments and possible grade heartache.
Outgoingness - nontraditional students must sometimes go ahead and introduce themselves, getting needed phone numbers and email contact information so they won't miss information if they get sick and can't come to class. If a nontrad is shy, he or she needs to "act as if" and go ahead and get this important job done.
Patience - it takes awhile to get to know the ropes. And if a nontraditional student is taking a few years of training, it takes patience to go through each prerequisite course. It can also take a lot of patience to listen to boring teachers or speakers at times. Not saying all professors or teachers are this way, but I have had a few. Luckily, not many.
Physical fitness - I know, not all nontraditional students are fit. But sometimes if you are going to a campus with hills and valleys, and have to hoof it back and forth to distant buildings, you do need to be in shape if possible. If a nontraditional student has a disability, hopefully the school will help with transportation or has a good wheelchair access to buildings and walkways. At my school (Western Kentucky University) they built in wheelchair access in many areas.
Organization - it is imperative to be organized. The more classes I had, the more organized I had to be. Otherwise, I would have lost notes and not known important test dates, and even missed classes. My notebook and calendar were musts, and I had to write everything in it.
Helpful nontraditional support that some nontraditional students have
Family Support - this is not a must (nontraditional students have succeeded without it) but it sure helps.
Group and Friend Support - this can really help too. Having a nontraditional student group at school is so helpful for many. Finding a good online group can be such a plus too. Some students have told me that they prefer to "go it alone," but I found having people to talk to that understood where I was coming from decreased my stress level and made being back in school so much more rewarding.
Teacher Support - this doesn't always happen, but many more teachers do help their nontraditional students who are in their class. Sometimes it takes an appointment and a personal visit, but a supportive teacher who will tell you what to study and why can make your class so much better.
School Support - some schools have it, some don't. It can make such a difference, for example, if a school offers day care or helps nontraditional students with families find it. And a special study area for nontraditional students is becoming much more popular and is needed.
Any more ideas? Please list them, so I can make an even better list next time.
former nontraditional student
Get connected: Some Nontrad links: The Nontrad site and blog Join Nontrads on Facebook Nontrads on Yahoo Nontrads on Twitter