Cathleen Wigenbach – Cortland, NY

Cathleen Wigenbach – Cortland, NY

Nontraditional Student Takes New College Path with LBU

Most of us tend towards similar ideas of the "traditional" college student: young, newly out of high school and ready to take that next step in their education. But this isn’t always the case.

Today, adult college students number 6.6 million, according to statistics from the Education Writers Association. That means they constitute around 35 percent of all enrollees in higher education. And the question facing nontraditional students as well as educators sounds deceptively simple: What’s the best way to teach adults?

Walmart associate Cathleen Wingenbach believes she’s discovered part of that answer through Live Better U, which allows Walmart associates to get their college degree for $1 a day. In September of 2018, she took advantage of College Start, a program that teaches nontraditional and returning students how best to balance the demands of daily life with the pursuit of education.

Because so many nontraditional students like Cathleen have full-time jobs and familial responsibilities, going back to school can present a difficult transition that sometimes lacks the flexibility they need.

College Start allows students to test out different study habits, experiment doing their coursework at various times and gather an individualized view of the best way forward in going back to class.

"College Start will give you what you need to get back into the groove of things," Cathleen said. "I think it’s one of the best programs offered. If it’s important to you, you will find the time. If you just give a little bit more of yourself, you can accomplish anything."