A Different Road To College: A Guide For Transitioning Non-Traditional Students
Alise Lamoreaux, Lane Community College
Pub Date: 2016
Publisher: Open Oregon Educational Resources
Read this book
Conditions of Use
The text is laid out in a manner that gives students all aspects that should be considered in determining where and how to successfully return to college. It appropriately points out multiple pitfalls that many students may not require. read more
The text is laid out in a manner that gives students all aspects that should be considered in determining where and how to successfully return to college. It appropriately points out multiple pitfalls that many students may not require.
The book illustrates areas like student advising, a typical college day, and even the financial aid process in a very straight-forward manner. Having been in the financial aid arena as a professional for about 8 years, I was able to appreciate the way topics surrounding concepts like the FAFSA were talked about.
The text has overall good relevance. Based on when it was written, most of the concepts still hold true today for students who are considering a return to college.
The text is very inviting to read. It provides students with a guide that they can utilize at every step of the process. When a potential student is at the step of planning their course schedule, he/she can easily find that section for a refresher. When they can't quite remember what their financial award letter is telling them, they can quickly navigate to that section.
The text follows the same pattern and approach in each chapter (i.e. typically begins with a quote to set the tone, plainly lays out the main points, then ends with an activity (Typically a TED Talk) to bring the main point full-circle).
The text is broken into 11 chapters that, at the very most, never exceeds 15 pages. Even at that, the chapters that have a longer page count is usually filled with sections for students to reflect and make notes on what they pulled from that chapter. These lengths of chapters encourage students to want to continue the process of reading.
The text is laid out in a manner that makes sense. It begins with a historical concept of what many consider to be a "typical" college student. It then focuses on how this demographic has been continually shifting. From there, it acts as a great map to guide the non-traditional student on a path towards success.
All of the additional content/ images appeared correctly and enhanced the experience.
There were noticeable errors, both grammatically and occasionally in syntax throughout the text. Occasionally, there were omitted words. An example of this can be viewed in the very last sentence on page 127. The message of the book is important and necessary, but items like this example can be distracting to readers.
The text does a good job to include consideration of gender, international, and other demographical areas of students.
I spent a few years teaching first-year experience courses in the community college arena, and I wish I would have known about a text like this to guide my students. Many of the students I had would be considered non-traditional, and a text like this would help in giving them confidence to continue their educational journey. I now teach primarily graduate students, and I was still able to extract helpful ideas to consider even with this demographic. Quite often, most graduate students exhibit many of the "non-traditional" demographical characteristics. They often are employed full-time, have families, have other external responsibilities that require their time, and most importantly, it has been some time since they have been in college. Everything from financial aid topics to how an institutional website is organized are all things I am now considering as we continue to reach further to attract our graduate demographic population in order to ensure their success.
A Different Road to College is an a critical textbook written for non-traditional college students. This book is loaded with insightful data and compelling stories. It serves as an introductory text on college life. read more
A Different Road to College is an a critical textbook written for non-traditional college students. This book is loaded with insightful data and compelling stories. It serves as an introductory text on college life.
The content is accurate and engaging. For further reading a suggested reading list is included.
The book is timeless and includes up-to-date research on non-traditional students. The heart of the book is the success tips offered.
The book is clear and easy to read for novice readers interesting in attending college. It includes concrete definitions, bolded key terms, and terminology as well as colorful graphs.
The book is consistent with terminology and framing.
The book is divided in 11 chapters on various aspects of the college experiences including institutional culture, navigating webpages, and funding resources. The subheadings are useful as they serve as guideposts for the reader.
The information in the book is presented in a clear and logical fashion. Web links are included as well as supplementary material.
The text is free and easy to navigate on the website. There are no navigation concerns and the information is void of confusion.
The book does not include any grammatical errors.
The book does not include include data on non-traditional students of color.
Overall, this is a comprehensive guide for non-traditional students in both mulling over starting college and providing guidance in making critical decisions about their college experience. This book provides the reader with a clear index of... read more
Overall, this is a comprehensive guide for non-traditional students in both mulling over starting college and providing guidance in making critical decisions about their college experience. This book provides the reader with a clear index of chapters at the beginning. The term “non-traditional” is introduced early in the book’s introduction and goes on to provide the reader with common behaviors, needs, and expectations of this college demographic.
The content appears accurate, error-free, and unbiased in nature. Many research studies and scholarly articles are cited to back up the author’s assertions. However, some of data is a bit dated and one wonders what today's portrait of non-traditional students is like.
Some references and links are dated. For example, there are quite a few TEDTalk videos from 2012 and 2013. One link to the documentary “Discounted Dreams” takes the reader to a very brief YouTube clip instead of to the documentary. It’s unclear why the entire documentary is not available to watch. Also, data about the make-up of today's college students is not represented, as it appears to be about five years old. It appears it would be straightforward to update the trends and find more contemporary videos to share.
For the most part, the book’s topics are relatable. Examples of real word scenarios that non-traditional college students face ring true. Furthermore, the author does a stellar job of creating many useful lists, such as the “10 Factors to Consider in Finding the Right College” or “Personal Inventory” questions that provide helpful starting points for students considering adding college to their lives. The lists are one of the best assets this book presents to adults in terms of their practical applications.
The author is consistent in terminology and provides several glossaries of key college vocabulary that readers should be acquainted with. Words are introduced with clarity and then examples provided to deepen readers’ understandings of what they mean as well as their context.
Overall, the book is chunked up into manageable reading sections. The quote at the beginning of each chapter is a useful segue into the topic. The video links provided in each chapter provide consistency from module to module. The length of chapters is varied, ranging from 5 – 20 pages, so there are some larger, more text-rich sections compared to shorter ones. However, the tone and language is uniform chapter to chapter.
Topics are presented in a logical sequence. For example, at the beginning of the book, a broad discussion about deciding to go to college segues further into the book to much more specific topics like how to building a course schedule and understanding key financial aid terms. There are a few paragraphs or sections that don’t appear to fit the audience; for example, the history of how Ronald Reagan’s administration changed the purpose of college seems unnecessary. Also, while the math equations about figuring out loan repayment is interesting, it could be off-putting to potential students. A general overview seems more appropriate, with simplified examples that are more approachable.
For the most part, no navigation problems were detected, with the exception of the aforementioned documentary “Discounted Dreams.” It was odd that there were no chapter numbers visible as one worked through the book, so it was sometimes tough to tell when a new chapter began. The index in the beginning of the book is clearly marked, but that doesn’t extend to the rest of the book. Additional photos of college students would have been welcome, especially to make this book more appealing to adult learners who may look to find college students who look like themselves.
The book was free of grammatical errors.
Videos were chosen to represent a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. The one photo in the book featured people of different color, and many examples of students were inclusive. The book contains examples of Oregon’s community college system, and though the author mentions the many choices of college environments, it was difficult at times to visualize or understand what they are.
As an instructor who works with developmental education students at a community college, I found parts of this book very useful, especially the questions designed to increase students’ awareness of their preparedness and plans for being a college student. However, the language sometimes seemed overly formal and the general vocabulary could be a bit out-of-reach for some returning students who have been out of school for several years.
This book covers the information regarding stats and basic information for student looking into transitioning into college. It does not cover information/activities to help students learn how to adjust. I would suggest this text be used more in a... read more
This book covers the information regarding stats and basic information for student looking into transitioning into college. It does not cover information/activities to help students learn how to adjust. I would suggest this text be used more in a sense of freshmen orientation seminar prior to college starting.
The information that I found seemed to be accurate and make sense for the desired population.
The content is very relevant in the field in which is focuses in. I would not see much of these data change in the near years.
The text is easy to understand and clear.
The frame work is a bus jumpy. I would have liked it to have gone into a bit more depth with activities and such.
The way it is organised makes sense.
I would have organized the information differently, but the way they did it is clear enough to follow.
There were pages where, I am assuming, charts of pictures belonged but they did not load in the downloaded PDF.
No issues noted
The text touched on different cultures but it could have gone more into depth regarding unique difficulties in different cultural populations.
I was looking to use this book for my college survival and success course but I would not feel comfortable using it as it only covers very surface information.
A transition takes place when someone becomes a college student. Research has shown that students that complete an Introduction to College course perform better in college. For students in the 18 - 24 year old age group I have found three... read more
A transition takes place when someone becomes a college student. Research has shown that students that complete an Introduction to College course perform better in college. For students in the 18 - 24 year old age group I have found three traditional textbooks which I regularly utilize. The Open Textbook Network, entitled A Different Road To College: A Guide For Transitioning Non-Traditional Students, fulfills the need to assist students 25 years of age and older obtain a solid foundation to be successful in college. The book is a good recourse for a community college or university Introduction to College courses. Also community based organizations that offer college preparation workshops and classes for adult learners would find it helpful. Some of the topics covered are 10 factors to consider when selecting a college or university, college terms, placement examinations, course scheduling, scholarships, and online college resources.
The layout and accuracy of the book are good.
The book is written in a way to allow for ongoing updates as needed.
The book is written to the correct age group which is adult learners.
The chapters are divided in a way to allow for ongoing student assignments.
Students could do group work to review the various sections of the book as they are designed for this to take place.
The topics are in a logical manner in the book.
A college instructor would not need to skip around but follow the chapters in the order they come in the book.
The grammar used in the book is correct.
Adult learner will be able to relate to this book regardless of their cultural background.
This is a an ideal option for adult learners.
The introduction contains a good definition of the non-traditional student that such students would identify with. Much of the introduction contains graphics and other information that they would probably skip and is of more interest to the... read more
The introduction contains a good definition of the non-traditional student that such students would identify with. Much of the introduction contains graphics and other information that they would probably skip and is of more interest to the instructor. Chapter 1 has good material about why students go to college but could do more with focusing on the students themselves. There is a set of questions; suggestions for use could be provided. The material in Chapter 2 is useful in selecting a college, but if the intended audience is students who have already enrolled in college, it would not be applicable to them. It also seems very broad-based for such an essential area. The discussion of “college vocabulary” in Chapter 4 is extremely useful for the target audience: a nontraditional student unfamiliar with navigating “college.” Chapter 5’s discussion of college schedules contains a general overview of issues students will face but would benefit from more specific advice and resources other than the ones mentioned, or at least advice on how to locate resources that would help with this issue. The discussion of college Web sites in Chapter 6 is woefully inadequate. It simply addresses the difficulties with navigating colleges’ public sites without including a discussion of tools like the student portal like Banweb or Learning Management Systems like Blackboard or D2L. Most students likely don’t even look at the public Web site after they are enrolled. Chapter 7’s discussion of placement testing seems more appropriate for students who have not yet enrolled, not who are already enrolled. “Understanding College Expenses” is vital information for students both before and after enrollment, so students would definitely benefit from reading this chapter. There are entire books and Web sites devoted to about this topic, but this chapter is a good introduction. The following chapter on scholarships is equally useful. Chapter 11 on “Pulling It All Together” provides a nice ending to the book and gives students an opportunity for self-reflection about their own college experiences.
Since the author is a community college instructor whose students are the “nontraditional” kind that she intends this book for, the information she provides is from first-hand experience. There were a few places that could have benefited from more development, but the book is generally accurate. It is also reasonably unbiased.
The content is relevant and can be easily updated. Some references to Lane Community College specifically would not be applicable to students from other institutions. There are also links throughout the text to additional material; some thought might be given to making these fixed or checking them regularly to make sure they remain relevant. The author also seems to assume that the target audience is community college students. There are some references to the practices of universities and four-year colleges, but a good deal of the content discusses “college” from the point of view of a two-year college student. This is particularly evident in Chapter 10
The author assumes a conversational but academically appropriate tone, addressing the reader as “you.” However, there are frequent shifts from this second-person, more informal style to third-person, which make the flow sometimes jarring.
The text achieves a good balance of consistency between discussing general and specific matters. Terminology is defined and used consistently.
While the individual chapters each have a discrete topic that could be used in any order, some seem more apropos to students prior to their enrollment in college and therefore less useful in a college success class.
The book refers to a number of TED Talks and other Web resources, which adds a multimedia element, but the PDF versions do not provide descriptions, instructions, links, or printed URLs. The “Online” version does. Several tables within the book seem to suffer from formatting issues in the PDF versions that are not present in the “Online” version.
There are 5 downloadable file formats and an “Online” version. This makes for easy offline usage, but the online option is a good alternative. Also, some guidance about which app(s) would be best used with a particular format would be useful for the less experienced user. Chapter titles are listed in the Table of Contents, but the formatting seems to have left them out of the individual chapters in the PDF versions.
The text contains a number of colon, quotation mark/punctuation, capitalization, and sentence fragment errors. The following word errors were also noted. Introduction, p. 4: I have witnessing the struggle and confusion [should be “witnessed”] Chapter 1, p. 12: How you define success in relationship to your college experience [“in relationship to” should be “in relation to”] Chapter 7, p. 65: The placement test can be referred to as CPT or CTP exam. [this seems to be a typo—similar mistakes are made throughout the chapter—if they refer to different things, the text needs to be clearer]
The text is careful to use gender-inclusive language (he/she, usage of third-person point of view). There are no references to culture other than first-year college students. Ethnicity and other culture identifications are certainly relevant to non-traditional students, but the author does not address them specifically. Perhaps this could be done in future updates; it might be helpful.
The overall strength of this book is that it was written by someone with a lot of insider knowledge about this topic. The drawback is its intent. Is it aimed at students prior to enrollment in college or after? While it contains good, general information about navigating “college,” it seems more appropriate as a guidebook for prospective students rather than a textbook for students in a college success class.
The text covers in logical order topics or student’s concerns that non-traditional students might have. Given that, this text helps to demystify the college experience or introduce college systems to non-traditional students, it contains, as it... read more
The text covers in logical order topics or student’s concerns that non-traditional students might have. Given that, this text helps to demystify the college experience or introduce college systems to non-traditional students, it contains, as it should be a glossary in between the chapters of terms used at colleges and universities. The text caters to students going to community colleges as well as 4-year universities and uses two higher education institutions as examples throughout the book, which is helpful for any students, traditional, or non-traditional.
The book is accurate as much as it could be. It uses examples of tuition at community college and a public university, and with tuition always changing it always difficult to be completely accurate. However, this is understandable and gets to the point of comparing prices of colleges and choosing the right one for the student, for each specific student’s situation.
The book is up-to-date as much as it could be. It uses examples of two colleges, compares the tuition of the two, but with tuition always, fluctuation, and is difficult to change the tuition constantly for the sake of complete accuracy. However if an instructor would want to use other universities or colleges as examples, it would be easily to modify. As the number of “non-traditional” students grow and become the new traditional student, the relevance of the book will continue to grow.
The book is clear and concise. The book is an easy read and it flows incredibly well. When college jargon is used, it explains the jargon beforehand and has exercises for students to research the jargon more in detail at the college or universities that they are thinking of going or currently attending.
Whenever the book uses jargon or terminology it explains it beforehand and uses the same term with the same meaning consistently.
The chapters of the book allows instructors to assign readings at different points of the class. The book can be read for the most part without a specific order.
The topics presented are organized in a very organic fashion. It is structured as if a student was talking to you and asking you college related questions in that same order. The order of the chapters and the topics are organized in a clear fashion.
This book is best read online since it contains TED Talks embedded in the text. When the book is downloaded into a pdf, for example, it is confusing to see big chucks of white space. When I first started reading the book, I downloaded the book as a pdf, not realizing until well into chapter two that the online version had the videos embedded. I think it would be helpful to place a disclaimer somehow that there are videos, and the best way to read this book is online, rather than downloading the book.
No grammar errors that I could notice.
The text is not cultural insensitive, and the TED talks chosen present speakers of different backgrounds.
A Different Toad to College is a great book for non-traditional students, traditional students and even college staff. It helps to demystify the college experience and helps students navigate college systems to their advantage. This book is best read online, since it has TED talks and YouTube videos embedded that help with the content of each chapter. The book also contains instructional materials that help students understand the material presented or help instructors create discussion questions for class.
This student guide book for incoming, non-traditional college students provides a wide range of common topics that new students need to know about with a thorough table of contents with easy to understand chapter headings. It contains eleven... read more
This student guide book for incoming, non-traditional college students provides a wide range of common topics that new students need to know about with a thorough table of contents with easy to understand chapter headings. It contains eleven chapters ranging from answering the philosophical and practical question of what college is for to how to understand the "language" of college as well as how to register, how to navigate the school's website and where to seek out resources and scholarships for success in school. I found this information to be current with what types of questions students ask me to guide them through or ones that they need to know to become acquainted with a college right for them or to become acclimated to the particular environment as they are getting started as a non-traditional student. I also liked the educational TedX talks interspersed within the eBook format. However, some were not entirely matched to the points being addressed in the sections and so it was hard to link the ideas together and it could use more focus on "successful learning and study habits for students".
I found the content to be mostly accurate, error-free and unbiased. I don't expect a text to be completely unbiased when it comes to sharing personal opinion as I believe that students take what they need and ignore what doesn't apply to them as long as the information is not offensive or discriminatory.
The content is fairly up-to-date and relevant to incoming non-traditional students and includes links to websites and Tedx talks on YouTube. Some of these are a few years old and could be updated. It would be relatively easy to update these links and find more recent videos as time passes. The digital eBook structure also allows the content to be updated easier than a traditional paper textbook would allow, which gives it a longer shelf life.
I found the text easy to follow and understand. Most of the information wasn't new to me, but it is practical and valuable information for new students who have many questions and concerns. This books clearly clarifies and demystifies many aspects of college life and is a great guidebook for new, non-traditional students.
This book is consistent in its terminology and is accessible to the average student. It contains reflection and discussion questions in most chapters to help students internalize what they are reading and personally guide them on what will work for them throughout the process.
The modularity is well designed. There are relevant quotes at the beginning of chapters to set up the focus of each chapter. There are bold titles, subheadings and numbered lists that assist in organizing the information clearly which makes it easy to follow.
The organization is well laid out in an easy to follow manner. I had no problem with the flow and transitions from chapter to chapter. Each one build on the next and stayed consistent to its topic, yet connected nicely to the one before it.
Everything with the interface appears to be working adequately. All the links are updated and go immediately to the necessary websites. I did have some issues with the downloading of the eBook. I couldn't get the files to open up with my Kindle or other reading programs. I ended up reading the pdf version, which wasn't as user friendly as I would have liked it to be. This could have been a technical glitch on my part though.
The grammar and punctuation is mostly legible and accurate. I did see a few typos, but for the most part it doesn't distract from the message or content of the book.
It could have used more multi-cultural references in it that showed more of a social justice perspective of oppression and how systematic racism, sexism, homophobia or xenophobia play out within a culture that attempts to address these issues, but often falls short and how to do more to prevent this from happening. There are many examples and references to Lane Community College which is a smaller school than PCC, where I teach and advise.
Overall, it's a excellent guide and work book to have students read, study and discuss in either a beginning reading and writing class or a college guidance and survival course.
This book covers a wide range of topics and issues related to the success of “non-traditional” students, but it also contains extremely helpful resources and reminders that are useful to “traditional” students and ones who are past the... read more
This book covers a wide range of topics and issues related to the success of “non-traditional” students, but it also contains extremely helpful resources and reminders that are useful to “traditional” students and ones who are past the transition-to-college phase. The text begins by addressing such philosophical issues as “what is college for?” and directs students to be self-reflective and purposeful vs. just doing what society “expects” or what their counterparts do. The author explains and analyzes a variety of resources. Although some are specific to Lane Community College or the state of Oregon, others are fairly applicable or at least provide a starting point for what students should inquire about/seek at their own institution. The author also provides glossary information, charts, explanations, references, and examples that are clear, thorough, and widely applicable.
I found this text to be accurate and consistent with the information that I learned as a college student (albeit the hard way!) and what I now use in advising students. The author didn’t appear to be biased, except for possibly a positive bias toward students who are typically considered “non-traditional.” They are simply called “students” in her work. I specifically appreciated the fact that students’ competing interests/barriers/responsibilities/classifications (e.g., full-time employee, single-parent/family duties, first-generation status, ELL, disabilities, international student, GED vs. standard diploma, older students, etc.) are discussed in objective ways. These labels are merely descriptors…neither used as an excuse for subpar performance nor a rationale for requesting special treatment.
The book’s content is up-to-date and should remain relevant for a long time. Although some particulars may change over time (technology, admissions processes) or could be somewhat more applicable to certain geographic regions or different U.S. institution sizes, I believe the overall advice is timeless, prudent, and general enough to remain applicable to multiple situations. Even if there are updates or additional concepts to add at a later date, the way it is written and organized lends itself nicely to changing certain sections without causing great impact to other areas. I particularly liked the reflective questions, exercises and agree/disagree activities sprinkled throughout. That would likely help create personalization and ‘buy-in’ of students who might be tempted to think they don’t need assistance to succeed in order to succeed in college.
This text is clearly written, with plenty of white space to make it eye-appealing and not heavily laden with jargon (however, in cases where there is unfamiliar or potentially-confusing terminology, acronyms, etc., the author offers easy-to-understand explanations and/or applications). This is a very easy read…both in vocabulary and conversational style. The author is straightforward and realistic (explaining that some aspects of college success demand a considerable amount of time, effort, and investigation by the student…in most situations, there is simply no shortcut to hard work). She breaks down step-by-step processes into manageable parts…but she’s simultaneously encouraging. She is clear that many things about being a student aren’t easy (regardless of whether they’re ‘traditional’ or ‘non-traditional’), but she also relays a very positive, you-can-do-it attitude. Furthermore, she includes suggestions for “how to use this book” and left a “Notes for Instructor” space and wide margins, allowing for the addition of personal notes, ideas, additional resources, assignments, etc.
The text is fairly consistent overall, especially regarding philosophical tenets, terminology, structure and framework. There are overarching threads that are consistently interwoven through the text [i.e. What frames your value of education? What kind of ‘return on investment’ do you expect from college? What are you willing to trade (opportunity cost) for going to college?] However, I found quite a few grammatical and spelling inconsistencies throughout. Some examples include: 1) p. 15, line 8: “At that time, California was known for excellent higher educational system;” 2) p. 49, line 5: “Tim Ferris” and p. 50 (heading) “Tim Ferriss.” However, the document wasn’t so fraught with errors that it cast a dim light on the author’s topical expertise. I suspect it was likely more an ‘attention-to-detail’ issue or careless editing than lack of knowledge re: grammar or writing style.
This work is easy to break into “chunks” so the reader can process them individually, then assimilate the information back into a larger construct (i.e. they can find and learn about individual topics, then assemble it all into ‘big picture’ concepts). Sections can be read independently without risk of missing something or feeling lost in lingo. Headings/subheadings, overall organization and use of ‘white space’ all add to the readability of the work.
Readers will appreciate the logical, orderly flow of this piece, including the fact that supporting points are well-organized, appropriate to the topic at hand, and examples are provided to reinforce the author’s points. The book’s content is objective, and not related to subjects that are prone to argument, personal interpretation, or debate. The author does include several categories of students that could be misunderstood by people who haven’t personally experienced that situation (i.e. being a single parent, homelessness, U.S. military service/veteran status), but those are explained in a tactful, unbiased manner. Furthermore, the structure of the text lends itself to having a long, useful ‘shelf life’…possibly even being the type resource a college student would keep to reference during their entire undergraduate career.
This text is free of significant interface problems, however, I wasn’t able to navigate to any of the several links referenced therein (i.e. TED & TEDx Talks or Internet links). I am unsure whether this is because of true interface issues, or maybe a factor of the document being in PDF format, where links may not be “live.” Yes, I could look up the referenced TED Talks on my own, but having links would be more use-friendly. Several charts, diagrams, images, graphs, etc. were included throughout the document, and all displayed well, both in visual and conceptual representation. Some could possibly have benefited from a bit more explanation/clarity, but it certainly didn’t excessively confuse or distract the reader.
My main concern with this text (and the only point of considerable improvement I can suggest) is related to spelling, subject-verb agreement, and grammatical errors. At times, these were plentiful enough to cause confusion or distraction, and addressing them would drastically increase the quality and merit of this work. Examples: 1) p. 6, line 3 (incomplete sentence): “All things the young adults need to know before striking out on their own for the first time.” 2) p. 6, line 34 to p. 7, line 1: “The content of this textbook will not focus on the needs young adults living away from home for the first time.” 3) p. 8, line 2: “First Generation in the US” should use “U.S.” although this could be argued as a style issue. 4) p. 9, line 1-3: “Current data from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) supports the information highlighted in their 2003 report titled Work First Study Second.” (This is a very common error, but it should say “data support” since the term “data” is plural.) 5) p. 14, line 16: the term “preform” should be spelled “perform.” 6) p. 19, line 1: “Before you enroll a college” should be “enroll in college” or “enroll at college.” 7) pg. 22, item #10 (capitalization is inconsistent with other headings in that section).
I found this text to be culturally relevant, sensitive and inclusive. It addresses several cultural issues that may be faced by students entering college (i.e. ELL, cultural norms/protocols, and the amount of priority a student or his/her family places on work vs. education). It’s good for students who are not in those categories to become more aware and open-minded. I appreciated that the author went beyond race and ethnicity (which we sometimes consider as the single aspects of “culture”) and she included such cultural descriptors as homelessness, dislocated workers, military veterans, students with disabilities, single parents, full-time employees who are attending college part-time, first-generation students, and ones who attainted a GED instead of a standard high school diploma. In this way, the author was inclusive of categories that extend past our sometimes-typical ones of race, ethnicity, and cultural background.
I highly recommend this text! It is easy to read, and I found the content to be applicable, “hands-on,” thorough and not overly simplistic. The author has considerable experience helping students ascertain and realize their educational and career-related dreams. It is evident that she is passionate about empowering students to have a great introductory experience with post-secondary education and to be successful throughout their entire college career. I intentionally chose this text because of its relevance to my college’s “first year experience” course, which I’ll teach this fall. I see this text as useful and user-friendly, so I plan to utilize it with my students as soon as two months from now.
Alise Lamoreaux presents the first-year student with the outlook and breadth necessary to plant one’s feet firmly on the ground on the first day of college, acquainting the student with the academic terminology increasingly used by student... read more
Alise Lamoreaux presents the first-year student with the outlook and breadth necessary to plant one’s feet firmly on the ground on the first day of college, acquainting the student with the academic terminology increasingly used by student services offices so that students can communicate effectively with their counselors. Although the text only intended to familiarize the student with the language and processes of the contemporary college, many texts on this subject have at least one chapter dedicated to effective learning and the overall studying process. Finally, while terms are defined within the individual chapters, a comprehensive glossary or index would be a valuable addition to the text.
The text is accurate and current, providing the student with the most current uses of academic terminology that faculty, student service professionals, and administrators use when communicating with one another. This is no small feat when considering the rapid changes within higher education over the last several years.
The text addresses topics of great relevance to the contemporary college student. Now more than ever, students must assess their purpose in attending college, establish a roadmap for degree completion, and constantly evaluate the labor market value of their degree. Lamoreaux immediately presents the student with the notion of “opportunity cost” and continually revisits this idea throughout the text.
In a departure from many textbooks focusing on the returning or first-year student, Lamoreaux strikes a rare balance between accessible writing and maintaining college-level rigor.
The text is consistent in its use of terminology throughout the chapters. Reading level, tone, and accessibility are consistent as well.
The text assumes that the reader has proceeded through the chapters and regularly references material from previous chapters. Sections are self-contained and convey the topics discussed. This allows the student to build a deeper understanding of college processes than other texts which are more modular.
While the text presents information in a manner that is consistent with a, I believe that students would derive greater benefit from a more strictly chronological presentation of information that mirrors their encounter with college and its unique processes.
There are minor inconsistencies between the many of the tables presented throughout the text. At points, lines that should otherwise extend to the right margin cut off in the middle of the page. Furthermore, a non-standard approach to indentation is used within tables.
The book has a syntactic level of complexity that is appropriate for the first-year college student. The book presents no grammatical or spelling issues.
Lamoreaux is sensitive to the the needs of returning and non-traditional college students. The examples used throughout the text frequently address topics of interest to women, individuals with part-time jobs, and those who consider themselves academically underprepared.
This text does an excellent job covering all the areas that are important to any student transitioning to college including areas of study and reason for higher education, finances, time management, technology, placement testing, resources etc. It... read more
This text does an excellent job covering all the areas that are important to any student transitioning to college including areas of study and reason for higher education, finances, time management, technology, placement testing, resources etc. It really is a comprehensive handbook that is written clearly. The table of contents describes the chapters well.
The book includes accurate information and no errors were noted. Some of the statistics and information on technology may need to be updated over time but are current enough for 2017. There did not appear to be any bias by the author in approaching the subject matter.
The content of the book is up to date, however some of the statistics presented in early chapters may need to eventually be updated as the demographics of the college population continue to change. Those updates should be easy to implement.
The book was very clear and was written at a level that should be accessible for those with a high school education; the intended audience for this book. Embedded videos and TED talks are also clear and accessible.
The text provides consistency in it's terminology and framework. Language is consistent throughout.
The text is divided into 11 chapters, each with a separate topic. Each chapter has videos and activities and flows well from one topic to the next. Most chapters include reflections and self assessments that are appropriate to the content.
The topics for each chapter are logical and flow well, while providing a comprehensive overview of important considerations for those choosing higher education later in life.
The text was easy to navigate and the embedded videos worked well. Graphics and images were appropriate and not distracting.
The text contains no grammatical errors.
The text was not culturally insensitive or offensive. Videos included those of a variety of races, ethnicities and backgrounds. Student examples were anonymous.
This is a great text for any student new to college but would be of particular use for those looking at returning to college as Non-traditional students.
There is no index or glossary available in this book, however the book is organized easily enough to read using the table of contents as a guide or directory for topic selection or vocabulary review. The content of the book provides an elaborate... read more
There is no index or glossary available in this book, however the book is organized easily enough to read using the table of contents as a guide or directory for topic selection or vocabulary review. The content of the book provides an elaborate presentation of all areas to consider when becoming a non-traditional college student. It is informative as well as inspirational
The content of this book is relevant to non-traditional students and is unbiased to this audience. The book considers all types on non-traditional students such as the working student, the student with family, the student who lives off campus, and more. Although the book is not marketed for a traditional student, the content would still apply and serve as useful and practical. There are also multiple videos embedded in the book that support the information presented and adds credibility to what the author shares. Overall, there were few, noticeable, grammatical errors or other errors what would create a distraction when reading the text.
This textbook is relevant and up-to-date. The content associated with the non-traditional student is long-lasting and will not require frequent updates. The videos embedded may need to be refreshed or updated every three to five years to remain engaging and timely. Otherwise, statistics presented may seem dated and not relevant. Finally, the tips are straightforward, easy to implement, and will remain relevant.
This textbook is easy to follow and understand. There are two chapters that focus on college lingo or vocabulary, specifically, student services and financial aid. These chapters serve as a type of glossary that is not presented in the typical fashion of placement in the back of the book. The information is useful and presented in a clear manner. There are also hyperlinks embedded and opportunities for further suggested readings presented at the end of many chapters. There are also several embedded videos that elaborate on points presented, especially the more complex points such as becoming a college student and financial aid.
The book is consistent and focuses on the use of language and material common to Lane Community College based in Oregon and is the college where the author teaches. Lamorcaux does an excellent job of explaining that there may be changes in the lingo and other areas depending on which college a student attends. She suggests independent research that requires the reader to examine two or more websites to make comparisons and note differences. Lamorcaux also initiated each chapter with a quote from well-known individuals which was relevant and provided an overall understanding of what to expect in the chapter. Overall, the terminology and framework is consistent and representative on Lane Community College.
The book chapters are divided into reasonable sections that would allow a professor to assign one or more chapters at any given time. It is not self-referential and makes reference to many other schools and offers different perspectives that allow readers to realize that the information presented is not the only way. The chapters could be paired with additional topics not covered in the book to offer alignment with topics such as diversity, studying, completing college courses, and more. These connections would not create a disruption for the reader.
The organization, structure, and flow of this book are presented in a logical and clear fashion. The chapters are short and relate directly to the chapter title. The structure includes some vocabulary, embedded videos, and areas of suggested readings (articles and books). This structure creates an easier read and allows the reader to break from reading in order to watch a video or spend some time browsing a suggested website such as how to search for scholarships. Finally, the flow is simple and clear with smooth transitions.
There were no interface issues encountered throughout the review of this book. The charts and tables were clear and without interference. Every article or suggested reading that was hyperlinked was clicked on and worked appropriately. There were no issues with the embedded videos either. Most of the videos were TED talks, but there were videos by the Department of Education and additional sources that all worked appropriately. There was captioning provided and although there were some errors in the transcriptions, they were useful overall.
Overall, the book did not contain grammatical errors. I can only recall spotting one grammatical error in the content – a misspelled word. As aforementioned, the captioning for some of the videos contained errors, but this would be beyond the scope of what the author could control. This is simply a risk of using borrowed material.
This book is culturally relevant and there are no insensitivities to any group of individuals. The pictures that are provided, links to articles and books, and video clips all include different types of people representing multiple backgrounds, experiences, and ethnicities. No group of people should feel targeted or disrespected in any fashion. Hopefully readers feel comfortable and as though they can identify with those presenting the material in the videos and articles as well as with the author.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this book, reading the additional articles, watching the videos, and examining websites. It was interactive and made for a quick read. I definitely learned some things regarding how my students might feel stepping foot on our campus for the first time and entering my classroom. This added perspective will help me become a better professor and more cognizant of those feelings. If I were a non-traditional student reading this book, I would feel more comfortable and prepared. I would realize that I am not alone and that there are many people and resources available to me and happy to help. I hope this book does the same for its readers.
On the whole, I think this book offers an excellent overview on college preparation for non-traditional students. What I particularly like about this text is that the author offers a birds eye view of the systems and structures that would help... read more
On the whole, I think this book offers an excellent overview on college preparation for non-traditional students. What I particularly like about this text is that the author offers a birds eye view of the systems and structures that would help students unfamiliar with the practices of postsecondary institutions. At the same time, this book is also about doing the internal work of outlining motivations, goals, and mastering the language and terminology - affective skills and traits of successful college students. By attending to the externalities of college going simultaneous with this internal work, I think the book demonstrates clear understanding of audience needs. One of my critiques of the book, however, is that it tries to offer a two- and four-year institutional focus on the information provided. In truth, the information provided is particularly oriented to the two-year college experience. While I certainly think a two-year focus for this text is warranted, the book tries too hard to be all things to all types of students (see "financial aid basics" chapter as an example). In doing so, I think it dilutes the purpose of the text. Finally, there are a couple of key topics that don't seem to be attended to in any way here. These are things like specific steps to transferring between two and four-year institutions, known student success strategies (campus engagement, learning communities, peer/cohort effects) that also would have been immensely useful to the readers.
The author is a community college professor who has taught this course previously. The content provided appears to be accurate and error-free.
While there are certainly aspects of college practice that will always remain constant - i.e. key terminology, institutional process and practices - there are also aspects of the college experience that are time specific. Certainly, admissions is ever-changing dimension of the college-going process. Also, importantly, is financial aid. The "financial aid basics" chapter uses DOE video to convey specific financial aid information (perhaps with an eye to avoiding unending content updates). However, other explanatory information might require updates in fairly short order. There are also a number of references to various media that could require some form of updating as well.
The text is very accessible. The language chosen is clear, but concise. I also very much appreciated the illustrations, data visualizations, and media. All of these features lend to the overall clarity of the text. In this regard, it is very well done and nicely tailored to the intended audience.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, I think this book at times tries to be all things to two and four-year students. I think it would have been strategically appropriate for the author to limit the discussion to the two-year experience. There are certainly differences in the two and four-year college experience (commuting, peer engagements, access to faculty, etc.). It would have been far more valuable from a "quality of information" perspective, to have had the author focus on one institutional type over the other.
his guidebook excels in its modularity; each chapter is short enough that even multiples could be assigned together without too much concern about overloading students. And because each chapter contains clusters of questions for students to answer in varying degrees of specificity, an instructor can rest assured knowing that the chapters can expand to provide enough content for whatever amount of time can be dedicated to it.
When it comes to the organization of chapters and content, this guide excels in limiting chapters to the actual information they cover and covering respective topics comprehensively; that is, a student wouldn’t have much trouble discerning which chapter to mine for their particular question or concern. The first two chapters, “What’s College For?” and “Choosing a College to Attend” function as a microcosm of the entire text, thusly giving the reader a taste for the breadth of the issues presented. My only concern was what felt like the haphazard inclusion of the “Supplemental Fun” and “Random Autobiographies” sections after chapters two and nine, respectively.
First, I have to say that this textbook handles interface as well as I’ve ever seen; nevertheless, I’ve oftentimes got a bone to pick with online textbooks and the limitations of the medium. I’m a firm believer in the idea of open texts—but at the same time, I would always personally choose to have paper versions in front of me! This guidebook meets my needs in that it provides a number of innovative visual aids/information delivery systems that would be impossible to deploy in a tangible text. That seems like just the thing an open text should be doing. Once more, this guide frequently employs some of the best and most-viewed TED Talks in order to convey information to readers. My only critique regarding interface is that a table of contents wasn’t visible on each page; I would have liked a way to quickly reach a targeted chapter.
Although the guidebook contained some errors in grammar and mechanics, the errors were not particularly glaring, such that I only noticed them when I was reading to find them. A large number of the errors involved compound words that would be separated in subsequent uses; examples include “website” becoming “web site” or “homepage” “home page.” These, as I’ve suggested, are not grave errors. Stylistically, the text is easily comprehended without being overtly repetitive or unnecessarily simplistic in terms of sentence structure.
One area in which this text could really excel in terms of inclusion is the quote at the beginning of each chapter. So often this person was completely unknown to me. When I did recognize the speaker of the quote, he was generally a white male. Why choose anonymous quotes (which you do multiple times), when you could use that opportunity to provide a far greater diversity of voices?
On occasion the tone of the text felt a bit forced in its optimism. I say this in part, however, as a self-aware cynic. While I understand the need to help prospective college students achieve a hopeful, can-do attitude, things like the quote from Christopher Reeves (“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”) felt a little bit forced to me. Further, is Christopher Reeves still a household name? I also noticed that the last chapter was particularly short. I’d like to see more information added here and almost expected an overview of material from the entire text.
This book was very well done. It covers topics that are aimed for the non-traditional student as well as as interesting videos and assignments to reinforce the topic. I thought the terms employees who study rather than students who work was... read more
This book was very well done. It covers topics that are aimed for the non-traditional student as well as as interesting videos and assignments to reinforce the topic. I thought the terms employees who study rather than students who work was fitting for this book. I would have liked to see more talk about financial aid besides just scholarships. I would have liked to have seen: how financial aid awards are different independent vs dependent how financial aid looks at enrollment levels the importance of talking to a financial aid advisor if you only want to attend 1-2 classes
The key topics were very on-point and I didn't disagree with anything. From an advising standpoint, some things needed side notes such as the "Academic Year" This terminology only addressed Lane but I think it would have been important to mention that the academic year is different at every institution. Some colleges start a new year in the summer where another summer may be the end of a year. In another instance, it said to take 1-2 classes as the student learns to manage time; great advice, but 1 class can impact a students financial aid and that fact wasn't addressed. I thought there was a little too much emphasis on how Lane CC does things; some contrasting would have helped the student realized the important of asking for help.
I thought the book was very relevant and any updating wouldn't be an issue.
The text was clear and any jargon was explained promptly.
Since I know Lane's system, I noticed that sometimes mylane was mentioned, then it was expresslane, and then mylane/expresslane. I didn't think it was necessary to mention expresslane since most students know it as myLane. I also wished that directed electives were explained in the glossary.
This was such as easy read. The chapters weren't too long, the title of each chapter was straightfoward, and I loved that there were some bullet lists. I enjoyed the variety of articles vs videos mixed with worksheets/discussion prompts.
I thought the flow would be better if it went navigating the college website, placement testing, and then planning a schedule. Non-traditional students do need to think about how they are going to fit college into their life, but it may be easier for them to do that once they feel comfortable with the college website and knowing their tests are done.
I didn't like that the suggested readings didn't open in a new window. Some of the activities/worksheets didn't have lines so it was a bunch of empty space or looked too crowded for the page. The Discounted Dreams link didn't play all the videos consecutively. I had to click on the side menu to watch the other videos.
I noticed two spelling errors but it wasn't distracting and didn't take away from the meaning of the sentence. It was well written.
I didn't see anything that could be taken offensively.
I think it was very well done and was easy to get through. I would recommend it to other instructors.
The book covers many topics generally and specifically, but the detail feels disjointed. I believe for me, it is due to many links to external websites should the reader want more depth in the topics covered. A concern that came up when reading... read more
The book covers many topics generally and specifically, but the detail feels disjointed. I believe for me, it is due to many links to external websites should the reader want more depth in the topics covered. A concern that came up when reading through this book was what if those links no longer were accessible to the reader? I believe a better approach would be to forget the links and go into more depth within each topic so the reader does not need to look at additional references. Another option is at the end of a chapter, include links for further reading outside of this book.
The author does not cite her where the information is specifically gathered from. No footnotes or end notes. The only citing done in the book is through topic headers and external links. So the accuracy of the material would take time to check, not to mention, the links to external websites can lead to information on those external sites changing or becoming inaccurate over time. The author makes reference to TED Talks, Lane Community College and occasionally general educational information from the State of Oregon. While I do not have an issue with using information gathered from institutions, I think it would have shown a bit more diversity to include several different colleges and then referenced them. It would have shown the author did a bit more research and offered a well rounded read. It almost feels like this book is for students interested in one particular college institution within a specified state.
While the information at this time might be somewhat accurate, I do not think it will have much in the way of longevity. I believe this is due in part to the external websites whose information can be changed at anytime without the author knowing about it.
The author uses a simplistic presentation without complexity for a good portion of the book. This in turn can be thought of as an “easy read” to many. I think that was probably the intent. Another point to make is that due to the lack of depth in terminology it is hard to go into detail about anything specific unless it is within a table or chart provided by the author.
I think the text is consistent in terms of the framework.
The author presents eleven different chapters that can be referenced independently or as continued reading from one chapter to the next. There are exercises and end of chapter questions that the student can use to help retain the information within the textbook.
I think the way it was organized made sense but how it flowed from one section to the next felt a bit disjointed.
Web links play a huge role in this book. There are also many links to YouTube videos or the suggestion that I could ‘click here’ to watch something, but there is nothing to view. Therefore I would have to copy a link and put in my browser. I think the flow of the book could be improved.
As mentioned earlier, this book is written as if I’m having a conversation with the author herself. It is almost a friendly chat. Therefore, I think grammar and punctuation is sometimes used improperly.
One of the things that did catch my eye about this book is the attention it makes towards the “non-traditional” older student being a “student” of today. Our thinking of a college student being 18 and fresh out of high school is not necessarily the norm any more. The author specifically relates to that in the introduction and I find that to have more cultural relevance. The text also includes social media and technology used in the classroom. The text is aimed specifically at community college students and addresses the needs and culture of that specific group.
I would have a hard time recommending this textbook as it is now. It is not diverse enough. I think that if the author revised this book to be more inclusive and added more depth within the book itself without so many external references, than this book could be viable for any “non-traditional” student looking to take a leap of faith and go to college at an older age.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What's College For?
Chapter 2: Choosing A College To Attend Supplemental Fun
Chapter 3: Evolution To College: Becoming A College Student
Chapter 4: Speaking The Language of College
Chapter 5: Planning A College Schedule
Chapter 6: Navigating The College Website
Chapter 7: Placement Testing
Chapter 8: Beyond Tuition: Understanding College Expenses
Chapter 9: Hidden Money: ScholarshipsRandom Autobiographies
Chapter 10: College Resources
Chapter 11: Pulling It All Together
Notes for Instructors
About The Author
About the Book
A Different Road To College: A Guide For Transitioning Non-Traditional Students is designed to introduce students to the contextual issues of college. Non-traditional students have an ever-growing presence on college campuses, especially community colleges. This open educational resource is designed to engage students in seeing themselves as college students and understanding the complexity of what that means to their lives.
Non-traditional students face critical issues surrounding participation and success in college. These critical issues include, but are not limited to, the following
- Strategies for managing competing needs on their time
- Difficulty navigating institutional environments
- Understanding the culture of college
- Transitional services not in place to the same degree as for “traditional” students
- Knowledgeable support systems
- Personal barriers
- Unpredictable influences on their schedules
- Work first, study second priorities
- Paying for college
Underprepared foundation skills (Reading, Writing, Math, Computer Literacy, Human Relations, Oral Communication).
Most textbooks available on the topic of college transition/success today focus on the traditional 18-year old student and the needs of someone living away from home for the first time.The goal of the book is to help students understand how to select the right college for them and then become acquainted with the inner workings and language of college. The book is designed to be a practical guide for first-generation college students as they navigate potentially unfamiliar topics such as understanding the costs of college beyond tuition, navigating college websites, and defining critical language needed to understand communication regarding the context and culture of the college.
About the Contributors
Alise Lamoreaux has a long history of teaching non-traditional students who are preparing for the GED and transitioning to college. She teaches a class called, “Everything You Want to Know About College, Before You Start” along with Hybrid GED courses at Lane Community College. Alise is known for her willingness to learn and use new technologies in the classroom, such as digital storytelling, learning management systems, and other online resources. She is an advocate of student success. Throughout the years, she has demonstrated her willingness to teach other professionals how they might also implement innovative technologies in the classroom. This year, she took on the challenge of writing an open source textbook, through a grant she received from openoregon.org, titled, A Different Road To College: A Guide for Transitioning Non-traditional Students. This free resource is designed to engage students in seeing themselves as college students and understanding the complexity of what that means to their lives, as well as helping to unlock the contextual complexities of the culture of college.