Non-Traditional Social Work Students: A Diversity Within

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The demographics of students in higher education have been steadily reflecting an increasingly diverse student population. One of the fastest growing groups in this population is that of nontraditional students, defined by age or life roles. This study utilized focus groups of nontraditional students from three undergraduate social work programs to elicit their identification of the challenges and supports experienced in their return to academia. Analysis of the transcribed comments revealed six major themes. Much of the discussion paralleled the general literature regarding nontraditional students; however, two additional issues regarding conflicting family and parenting demands and consistency versus flexibility from the university system emerged. Universities are challenged to assess their responsiveness to this unique and growing cohort of students.


This article was originally published as Zosky, D., White, K., Unger, J., & Mills, S. (2004). Non-traditional social work students: A diversity within. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 10 (1), 28-45.