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