How the college helps nontraditional students

Written by Johan Marin. Johan is one of the Staff Reporters for the Campus Ledger. This is his 4th semester at JCCC. He also is one of the Student Activity Ambassadors for Student Life. He enjoys writing, video editing, and helping students get involved on campus. He spends most of his time hanging out with his friends, and family.

JCCC Student, Christian Sanders has had an enjoyable experience being a student again. “Being in the professional workforce and switching back to the student life cycle is a change but my experience doesn’t feel any different than any other student. Being at JCCC has grown my experiences both being involved in clubs as well as working here and I’ve gotten to know so many great people, expand my connections and network and plus I’m taking classes so I’m learning new material,” said Sanders. (Photo/Mena Hass)

Thirty-three percent of the college’s students are nontraditional, which isn’t unusual for a community college. For several years, the college has hosted an event meant to help nontraditional students handle the challenges that come with adopting the lifestyle of a college student. As per JCCC’s motive, education is for any age at any stage of life.

Melisa Jimenez, Recruitment Coordinator oversaw the nontraditional student event and intends to provide a tailored visit for each nontraditional studentbeing specifically aware that each student has their own uniqueindividual needs. Jimenez envisioned this event to value each nontraditional student’s potential. 

“We want to create an intentional and meaningful experience with the nontraditional student in mind,” Jimenez said. “We cover topics that we are not applicable to this population, including online and evening classes.”

Many nontraditional students attend the college with the goal of shifting their careers or updating their skills. Some students have never attended college before and want to attain a college education, while others want to pursue lifelong learning and continue to attend classes for pleasure rather than necessity. The college provides many resources for each of these types of nontraditional students, as well as students of any other variety, to be successful while they attend any classes at the college. Some of these resources have been providing self-paced classes, college adaptation workshops, and even child care.

Nontraditional students in the past have taken self-paced online courses. Self-paced online courses allow any student to take certain classes for a whole year. Some of these subjects are Math and English. This spaces out online assignments and online tests convenient enough to fit a nontraditional student’s busy schedule. With self-paced classes, nontraditional students work with a professor one-on-one, getting any help they need to understand the concepts of the class without the hassle of finishing the class in a semester.

These college adaptation workshops by themselves have helped nontraditional students get used to new college education renovations that involve technology, help nontraditional students create flexible class schedules and help overlook convenient study methods easing into the college student life while having staff mentoring nontraditional students in their unique needs.

As well, child care options are provided to help nontraditional students while in class. The Hiersteiner Child Development Center provides a Child Care Access Fund Scholarship that helps any parent that is a student cover 75 to 95 percent of child care costs on campus. Nontraditional students are also allowed to apply to this scholarship.

Christian Sanders, a nontraditional student, has been at the college for three semesters and attended the nontraditional student event. Sanders shared his experience.

“I went to JCCC for a career change and I got it,” Sanders said. “During the event [the college] helped me match the best career for me and fill my self-capacity as a college student. I feel like students starting over again should check it out.”

Sanders recognizes the struggles of being a nontraditional student. He knows getting into a college mindset again can be challenging after five years and the use of online education resources can be something new for many nontraditional students.

“At the beginning, it was something to get used to again,” Sanders said. “I know many other nontraditional students have it harder and going back is definitely a big decision, but there are many career opportunities for those even looking for two-year degrees.”

Despite the struggles of being a nontraditional student. Sanders has overcome these obstacles and wants the best for other nontraditional students beginning their journey as students.

The college’s resources acknowledge that classes can become constricting when having many outside responsibilities. The college believes no student should be left alone on their journey. On campus, any student can receive the help and resources they need. The staff ensures it and is happy to help all starting and returning students.

“We don’t want any student to feel lost and we make sure they have the utilities to make them successful,” Jimenez said.

The nontraditional student event aims to make every nontraditional student’s college experience special and rewarding. With the help of faculty, Jimenez hosts nontraditional workshops all year long. Providing every nontraditional student a new opportunity to learn how to be successful in their classes.

For more information about every nontraditional Student Event contact: Melisa Jimenez



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