Non-traditional students add to campus mix

From the The Brunswick News

College has changed quite a bit in the 15 years since John Madala last walked through the doors of a post-secondary institution.

In the time since he graduated from what then was Coastal Georgia Community College, the Internet has given rise to online classes, and his two-year alma mater has become a four-year baccalaureate college with more courses of study.

Today he is back on the renovated and expanded campus of what is now College of Coastal Georgia.

The 49-year-old Brunswick deputy fire chief and Glynn County Board of Education member is seeking a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

After that he plans to earn a master’s degree in medical leadership through classes offered here by Georgia Southern University.

What might sound like a tough road to some is anything but that to Madala.

“It’s fun,” Madala said. “It is definitely an adventure.”

Clayton Daniels, vice president for enrollment management at the college, says non-traditional students like Madala bring a unique perspective to campus.

“They create a much more interactive classroom,” Daniels said. “The younger students can learn from the experiences of people who have been in the world and held jobs. It can be very beneficial.”

Non-traditional students, who make up 20 to 25 percent of new students entering the college, are classified as 23 years of age and older or people who have been out of college for five years, Daniels said. They are often people who have some college education and want to extend it. Some 899 new students, traditional and non-traditional, are enrolled at the college this fall semester, putting the number of new non-traditional students at about 200.

Because non-traditional students are usually juggling a job or a life with children, providing options like online classes is important, Daniels said. “We are trying to adapt to what the range of modern students needs,” Daniels said.

Getting students like Madala in the classroom with others goes a long way in enhancing the college experience for both younger and older students, Daniels said.

From the younger students, Madala learned how to adapt to the modern classroom environment.

One of the biggest differences he has noticed from when he was last in college is the sheer volume of material covered in a semester. He took cues from the younger, traditional students who are fresh out of high school on how to navigate the immense amount of information, Madala said.

Daniels said Madala is the perfect example of the kind of non- traditional students he hopes continue to attend the college.

Because spring registration of- ten sees more new non-traditional students than new traditional students, the college will hold an open house and information session on campus from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 29.
Release Date: 11/13/2012
Source: The Brunswick News