Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics and opinions of traditional and non-traditional undergraduate students. Students enrolled at Southeastern Louisiana University composed the sample for the study. Data analysis was intended to reveal the demographic characteristics of the students and the differences and similarities which may have existed in students' opinion with regard to educational objectives, motivation to enroll and certain personal concerns. Student opinions were solicited concerning academic advising services and personal counseling services available to them. Students' opinions were also obtained concerning services of administrative offices, admission and registration processes and sources of educational finances for the students. Enrollment predictions for higher education depict an increase in the number of non-traditional college age students and corresponding increases in the percentage of students attending college on a part-time basis. These data accompany projections of declining or stablizing enrollment of traditional age students and students attending on a full-time basis. Services and programs available to traditional students may not be satisfactory for the non-traditional students. Colleges must analyze their students' characteristics and opinions to adapt to anticipated changes in the student clientele. A questionnaire was prepared after a review of the literature to determine the characteristics and opinions of undergraduate students. Permission of instructors in randomly selected undergraduate classes was obtained and students were surveyed in these classes. Two hundred completed questionnaires were randomly selected representing four groups of students: (1) traditional full-time students, (2) traditional part-time students, (3) non-traditional full-time students, and (4) non-traditional part-time students. The following conclusions were drawn regarding the selected respondents' answers to the questions. The model traditional full-time student in this study was 20 to 24 years of age, white, single and a freshman or sophomore majoring in business. He was not on academic probation, was planning to earn a baccalaureate degree and obtaining most funds for educational expenses from parents. Southeastern Louisiana University was the first educational experience for this student and geographic proximity of the University was a primary reason to enroll while, information was obtained about S.L.U. from a friend or member of family with greater personal enrichment being the primary educational objective. Course scheduling was the biggest problem for this student in attending Southeastern and improving study skills was the student's major concern. The typical traditional part-time student was very nearly identical to the full-time student but this student was married and wanted specific skills with which to obtain a job. The typical non-traditional full-time student could be described as a senior, majoring in nursing or business, 25 to 29 years of age, married, and white. He found out about S.L.U. from friends or family and was paying educational expenses with income from work. No other colleges were attended by this student before enrollment at S.L.U. The primary educational objective was to obtain a college degree. The non-traditional student also had difficulty in scheduling classes and said improving study skills was of primary concern. The non-traditional part-time student had many similarities to the full-time student except that developing a new career was the primary educational objective of this student and earnings of spouse was the primary source of educational finances.

Pages

165

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