Adult learners over 25-years-old now make up 40 percent of all students attending community colleges in the United States. Because they are open access, provide accelerated certificate programs, focus on basic skills, and have extensive vocational curriculums, community colleges are often the best choice for adult students. As this population increases, community colleges must create new and innovative approaches that address specific needs to support adult student enrollment, build strategies that improve their persistence and achievement rates, and lessen institutional barriers that prevent successful outcomes.
Developing a comprehensive plan to address the challenges faced not only by these students, but also by the institutions that are much more focused on supporting traditional 18- to 24-year-old students, is a significant task for community colleges. Strong adult learner initiatives led by knowledgeable, well-trained staff that understand the specific challenges faced by these non-traditional students can form the foundation of an adult learner support program.
This webinar will focus on reviewing and evaluating the specific services that need to be amended, reinvented, or newly developed in order to successfully support adult learners in community college. Pathways to Success (2012) corroborates what many college administrators already know, retaining adult learners in college is a substantial challenge due to the adult student’s unique set of circumstances. Developing and implementing a comprehensive support program can create a strong foundation, which in turn will increase their potential to meet their educational and career goals.
- Identify adult learner characteristics
- Evaluate existing adult learner support services
- Define and describe critical new services needed
- Develop a plan to provide critical adult learners support services
- 2-year institutions & 4-year institutions
- Academic Affairs/Instruction
- Student Affairs
- Student Services Staff
- Retention Specialist