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1.2: Different Worlds of Different Students

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Understand how you may be similar to, and different from, other traditional students or returning students.
    2. Describe the characteristics of successful students.

    Not all college students are the same, and the world of college is therefore sometimes different for different students. Students will answer the following questions in a variety of different ways:

    1. Are you attending college directly from high school or within a year of graduation?
    2. Are you a full-time student?
    3. Is English your first language?
    4. Are you the first person in your family to attend college?
    5. Have you spent most of your life in a country other than the United States?
    6. Are you married or living with a partner? Do you have children?
    7. Do you now or have you worked full time?

    When thinking about different “types” of students, be careful to avoid stereotyping. While there are genuine differences among individual students, we must never assume an individual person has certain characteristics simply because he or she is a certain “type” of student. For example, if you answered yes to questions 1 through 3 and no to the other questions, you may be called a “traditional” student—young and attending college after high school. The word “traditional” is used simply because, in the past, this group of students formed the majority of college students—even though, at many colleges, these students are now the minority. On the other hand, if you are older and have worked for some years before returning to school, or if you are an international student or are working and attending classes part time, you might be considered a “nontraditional” student. Again, this term comes from past statistics, even though very many colleges have more “nontraditional” students than “traditional” students.

    Figure 1.3


    Colleges have students of all ages and with diverse backgrounds.

    Bernard Oh – IMG_7560 – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.