R. Lee Viar IV, Ph.D.
President, Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education
If there is one word to describe these times we are experiencing in every aspect of our lives, but specifically in higher education, it could be the word turbulent.
Take it from one of the most influential thinkers, Peter Drucker, who explains that, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” To this end, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented higher education with a much-needed recognition of the profound importance and impact of online education.
The concept of college accessibility and affordability is more important than ever for the prospective college student, whether they are a traditional or non-traditional adult college learner. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during the period of January 2020 to April 2021, the unemployment rate of job seekers with a college degree was 7.4 percent, compared to those with just a high school education, which was at a staggering 17.3 percent. I believe this speaks volumes to the value and importance of a college degree.
The educational process starts before enrolling in college. Incoming students should do some research into job trends for employment opportunities post-graduation. I recommend asking those already in a potential field their insights and investigate into skillsets you may need. The pandemic has opened the eyes of many college hopefuls by making the college classroom more accessible and providing an opportunity to earn a degree while still being able to work and meet family obligations.