Eau Claire (WQOW) – Non-traditional students are becoming more common at UW-Eau Claire. This year alone, University officials have seen a 26 per cent increase compared to last year.
Non-traditional students include those who are over 25, married, veterans or working full-time while enrolled.
27-year-old Torien Leath, a fifth-year senior at UW Eau Claire, said he dropped out of Stout in 2012 to figure out what he wanted to do. He started at UW-Eau Claire after he settled on psychology.
“I need to figure out what I am as a person and what passions I have, what interests me, so I took a couple of years off to kind of get an idea who I was who was the guy I see in the mirror all the time,” said Leath. “Taking the time to figure yourself time to figure out, taking the time figure out your passions and interests was beneficial to me.”
22-year-old Thomas Rock, another non-traditional student, was in the military for five years and later enrolled on GI Bill benefits. Rock said the age difference could mean he struggles to connect with some of his classmates, another struggle for him was transferring military credits to UW-Eau Claire.
Nichole Miller, a UWEC Academic Adviser, agreed with Rock, and is starting to work with him on that.
“I often feel I have more in common with the professors than I do with the students, coming out of the military is a huge, huge, change,” said Rock. “Everything is different so to have an adviser that knows how to transfer credit and stuff like that would be extremely helpful.”
“They just bring a whole other level of experience, and they are such good role models for students as well,” said Miller.
Miller said the school has many programs to help their non-traditional students such as more online classes, $38,000 in scholarships, and one-on-one mentorship with someone who’s been in their shoes.
The school even has a discounted daycare program for parent students.