(BPT) - When most people hear “college student,” they likely envision an 18-year-old who is fresh out of high school. But the student body on America’s campuses has evolved. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 75 percent of undergraduate students today could be considered “non-traditional.”
These non-traditional students are often career-changers, entrepreneurs and parents who are balancing the demands of school, work and family life. They want the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate capability and value to employers immediately, not after a few years of learning on the job. These non-traditional students are the “new majority,” and as they pursue the right resources to succeed academically and navigate the responsibilities they carry outside of school, they are reshaping the future of education.
Who embodies the new majority? Students like Thomas Wolfe, Andres Hernandez, Felipe Dugrot and Lisa Smith — all recent DeVry University graduates who set out to pursue their career goals with a very specific set of criteria in mind.
“I knew I needed a school that would be customizable to my schedule,” says Wolfe. “DeVry University not only offered many ways to learn, but they were committed to helping me complete my degree on time, on my terms.”
A father of four, Wolfe worked full time at Sapa Extrusions while taking classes at DeVry University’s Atlanta campus. He earned his bachelor’s degree in technical management with a specialization in business intelligence and analytics management, and is a plant controller at Sapa.
Hernandez also juggled academic and professional responsibilities. He held three on- and off-campus jobs — including an internship and position as a data model technical specialist, both at American Express — and launched Upstge, a grassroots music-streaming hub, while attending DeVry University in Phoenix as a full-time student. The computer information systems skills he developed in his courses were directly transferable to his current role as a data engineer at American Express.
“In my field, technology is constantly evolving and I need to keep up with the changes,” says Hernandez. “DeVry University was in tune with what my industry needed and prepared me to deliver on those expectations through technology skills that were immediately applicable to my work.”
Dugrot, a father of two with a busy schedule, wanted a school that would offer him flexible online courses and the expertise that is essential for a career in technology. He earned his bachelor’s degree in network and communications management and is a solutions support engineer for GE Healthcare.
“To me, a bachelor’s degree symbolized freedom and opportunity,” he says. “I’ve made my family proud, and have new skills that I plan to continue to hone.”
Smith was looking for a degree program that offered high-definition learning for a growing field. She began working at Kforce Staffing & Solutions in between earning her bachelor’s degree in network and communications management at DeVry University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. Smith recently completed her MBA program and continues to work at Kforce as a consultant.
“I wanted a school that understood the job market and the importance of training and preparedness in a technology-focused career,” says Smith. “The hard and soft skills I gained at DeVry University gave me more confidence both personally and professionally.”
For Wolfe, Hernandez, Dugrot and Smith, a non-traditional college experience offered them the resources and flexibility to gain the necessary skills for their career paths — and the confidence to advance their professional lives.
DeVry University helps these students, and many others like them, overcome what were once perceived as barriers to their aspirations. And with a decades-long history of partnership and collaboration with some of the nation’s leading companies, DeVry University will continue to give its students the skills that the job marketplace needs today and for the future.