Deciding to dedicate your evenings to college classes is a tough decision that takes strong motivation and commitment — but for nontraditional students with families, jobs and other responsibilities, it’s often the only viable option if they want to pursue post-secondary education. Career college administrators and staff can help make this decision easier by making night classes more appealing to busy non-traditional students.
Allow College Credits for Work Experience
One way career colleges can make night school attractive to working students is offering college credits for relevant work experience. Consider partnering with local businesses to develop courses that include work as an experiential learning lab. This reduces the burden on working students who are trying to juggle school, work and homework while taking care of a family by reducing the total number of courses that need to be taken on campus.. A helpful resources is The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, which assists colleges in helping students gain credit for career and life experience1.
Offer Evening Child Care and Academic Support Services
More than one out of four undergraduates is raising dependent children, according to a study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research2. Many of these students are single parents. To make night classes attractive to these students, offer nighttime child care services. If your colleges lacks these resources to offer child care services, consider partnering with childcare services such as care.com or sittercity.com promote their services and potentially offer discounts to your students. The American Association of University Professors also suggests offering academic advisor and support services during evening hours3. Colleges can leverage their existing academic advisors and tutors to offer students the same support network that they would receive if they were to attend classes during the day.
Make it Easy for Students to Get to Campus
Transportation can be another major hurdle for students looking to take evening classes, as a lack of public transportation during off hours can make it difficult for students to commute. One option for schools to alleviate this issue is by creating a carpooling network. Career colleges may with to partner with carpooling services such as vRIDE, which allows groups of 6-15 people to commute together by van on a regular basis4. Alternatively, colleges can encourage students to connect with each other to arrange rides by having them complete an application to find potential carpool partners or create leverage social media networks to facilitate this process.
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Resources: (1) Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (2) Institute for Women's Policy Research (3) American Association of University Professors (4) vRide