Parents and veterans are just a couple of examples of students who wouldn’t fall under the definition of a traditional student.
This year, new programs at the university will offer more services for them.
Students are considered non-traditional if they are parents, veterans, have full-time jobs, are returning to school after taking time off, or are the first generation in their family to attend college. Non-traditional students make up 30 percent of the university’s population, said Deborah Barnett, coordinator of Non-Traditional Student Services and the Single Parent Program.
Non-Traditional Student Services is a program created to provide guidance and support to students, Barnett said.
“The program is a service for students if they need advice or help with anything,” she said. “We’re here to help them as much as we can. Our main goal is to guide and support students.”
Barnett said the semester’s new programs include a coffee hour at 8 a.m. every Monday in front of Starbucks as well as a lunch break from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday in the Student Center dining hall.
“It’s just a time for students to come together and socialize and get to know other students before or while in between class,” Barnett said.
The program will also host Friday Fun at the Rec one Friday night each month, which gives students with children the opportunity to have some alone time in the evening while their children enjoy a few hours at the Recreation Center with other children.
While Non-Traditional Student Services works to meet individual student needs, a newly formed group on campus is aimed to financially assist those students by creating scholarship opportunities. The SIU Carbondale Association of Non-Traditional Students will hold its first meeting Sept. 1.
In addition to opportunities geared specifically toward non-traditional students, another program on campus, Student Support Services, offers help that non-traditional students can take advantage of.
The program offers services that include study skill workshops, mentoring, free printing, a laptop borrowing program, workshops to help students get the right financial aid and special events throughout the school year.
DeAndre Boston, a father and first-generation college student from Chicago studying marketing, said he is actively involved in the Student Support Services program.
“The events and services SSS offers have been very helpful and resourceful,” Boston said. “The workshops helped me out a lot when I was a freshman and was trying to adjust to college.”
Arielle Thompson, a senior from Chicago studying elementary education, said she doesn’t take advantage of the services, but she has still had to adjust to campus life as a parent. She said her son Paris has given her a different motivation as a student.
“Before I had him, I was not as focused as I should have been,” she said. “He changed my perspective on things because I now have someone to worry about.”
Paris attends the university’s Rainbow’s End Child Development Center while Thompson is in class. As a mother in college, Thompson said the experience is challenging but worth it, .
“It’s all about how you handle it,” she said. “You need to have your plan laid out before you decide to attend college and stay prayerful.”
While parents can take advantage of several non-traditional student services, some non-traditional students can use resources specific to their needs such as Veteran Services.
Roderick Santulan, coordinator of Veteran Services and graduate student in business administration from the Philippines, graduated from the university in 1996 and returned this semester to work and get his master’s degree after serving in the Air Force. He said the program offers veterans several accommodations, including a disability support center, case managers and Registered Student Organizations. The program also offers clinical psychologists for veterans and their dependents, he said.
Santulan said he thinks the services help veterans get more involved in the Saluki community, which in turn helps the university.