Students like Annette Skewes are considered non-traditional. Randy Neilson/UVU Review

In the recent recession, adults who once felt secure and confident in their careers were let go due to reconstruction of companies, or businesses not having enough revenue to support as many employees as before.

Consequentially, there are many individuals taking action in pursuit of increasing their future job opportunities by enrolling in school again.

Student Scott Baird, 38 and a Legal Studies major said, “I was laid off two years ago after being employed for 17 years. After trying to find a job again and not being successful, I decided my best bet would be to come back to school. I had gone to UVU back in 1991, but didn’t want to be in school and didn’t obtain a degree. I went because my parents said I had to go to school.”


Baird is not alone in his decision to return to school and earn a degree in higher education. Each year more non-traditional students are returning to campuses throughout the country. As universities and colleges are recognizing these efforts, they often organize accommodating services to this group.

Many of these returning students have a lot to balance on top of school. Many have families, jobs and are enrolled in at least 12 credits, classifying them as full-time. Although they make their best attempts to balance all of these aspects of their lives, it is still a struggle.

“I’m learning to balance everything. My wife helps out as much as she can at the house and with the kids, but it takes its toll,” said David Palomares, 39 and a Business Management major. “I’m just not sleeping as much as I used to and it does affect my grades. It’s nowhere near easy to balance it all.”

It should be recognized that all non-traditional students have one quality in common, and that is courage. They have courage to make sacrifices and come back to school with a generation so different from theirs. It takes courage and ambition to achieve their goals in the academic world, especially after taking so many years off.

More traditional students can learn from the non-traditional students within the classroom. They have years of wisdom and knowledge. They have been in the real world and had careers. They have much to contribute and increase the diversity of a student population on campus for the better.

Non-traditional students understand the need and importance for education and a college degree. In the competitive world of today, a degree goes hand-in-hand with ensuring any opportunities one wishes to pursue.

“Getting a degree is really important. The chosen employers want to know that you’re dedicated enough to devote your time to learning and increasing your knowledge,” Baird said.

Education is the key to success and despite one’s age, everyone has the potential to achieve excellence. To use a trite saying, age is just a number – and it’s never too late to learn.