University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point student Robert Sell is enrolled for the third time. He describes his education path to this point as “military, student, construction, student, construction, and student.”
Sell already has a degree in Public Administration and decided to return to UWSP for his degree in Special Education. He and his wife are both pursuing degrees while raising their children, and are part of a growing number of nontraditional students here on campus.
“It was really important to condense my schedule,” Sell said. “Maggie Beeber from the Education office laid out a really clear track [to do so]. That was extremely helpful.”
Chris Hofmann, a veteran nontraditional student, says that being older than most students can have its disadvantages. In one particular incident, he needed help figuring out Microsoft Word in a campus computer lab.
“Tutors are gone after about 6 p.m.,” he said. “After that you're on your own.”
Hofmann says that in many cases it is difficult to find a student willing to assist him.
“It's not like they're falling down left and right to help you out,” Hofmann said. In addition to technical difficulties that come as a result of his position, he also feels like professors are pushing a leftist “agenda” in many of his classes.
“I want to get a good job so I can make money. Until then, I've got to put up with the insanity,” Hofmann said.
Duachee Yang is the Office Manager in the UWSP Nontraditional Students Office. Since the U.S. economic recession began, she has noticed an increase in nontraditional students coming in for help.
“We've seen a lot more people coming back to school,” Yang said. “We do what we can to make their transition easier.”
The Nontraditional Student Office has many programs aimed at making student life a little better for veterans, transfer students, those working on their second degree and those over 24 years old. Their main focus right now is on possibilities of the College Level Examination Program that allows students to test out of more classes in order to speed up their time here.
“Assistance for veterans is also priority,” Yang said. “The Veterans Office and Nontrad. Office share a lot of ideas.”
While nontraditional students encounter many difficulties, many also come to the university with a lot of life experience.
Sell feels that he has narrowed his scope on education after many years of academic study. “I know what I'm paying for, and I know what I am looking to get out of these classes,” Sell said.
The Nontraditional Student Office is Located at 070D in the Dreyfus University Center.