Adapting community college student services to meet the needs of non-traditional women students

Smith, Edna
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether non-traditional female students (25 years or older) differ significantly from traditional age students in demographic profile, awareness, and usage of services and in perception of the learning environment;The study also sought to measure any significant differences between the two colleges used for the study and their respective main and satellite campuses when compared on the same variables;A questionnaire was administered to 500 female students whose classes and programs had been randomly drawn Spring 1987. Participation was voluntary;Two hundred fifty usable surveys were returned resulting in a response rate of 64%. The average age of the respondents was 28.7 years with a range of 17-57 years;The major findings of this study indicated that traditional women students differ significantly from non-traditional women students when compared on the following variables: demographic profile, awareness and usage of services and perception of the learning environment. Traditional students in this study lived in town, were single, were employed part-time and registered full-time for college. In contrast, the non-traditional women students lived out of town, were married or divorced with children, when employed were full-time and were registered part-time for college. Relative to awareness, traditional women students knew the names of their faculty advisors more often than did non-traditional women students. More traditional women students knew about planned activities than non-traditional women students. While participation was low for both groups, significantly fewer non- traditional women students participated in activities than traditional women students. Traditional and non-traditional women also differed in their perceptions of the learning environment;There were very few significant differences between the two colleges. While there were a number of significant differences between the main and satellite campus students, those differences seemed to reflect the higher number of non-traditional students attending satellite centers. The results suggest the need for continued assessment and action to meet the needs of changing student populations.

Professional studies in education, Education (Higher education), Higher education