Samantha Johnson

Education
12:41 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Embracing the Role of "Campus Mom", a WKU Student Reflects Rising Number of Non-Traditionals

Samantha Johnson and her 15-year-old son, Drew
Credit Kevin Willis

Kevin's profile of WKU-Glasgow's Samantha Johnson, one of a growing number of non-traditional students across the nation.

Glasgow resident and full-time college student Samantha Johnson could serve as “exhibit A” of a growing trend being seen throughout America’s colleges and university campuses.

When Johnson enters a classroom at WKU-G, as the campus is known, she brings with her a lifetime of experiences that the average 18 to 22 year old lacks.

Johnson is a 45-year-old single-mother who knows what it’s like to brave the job market with only a high school diploma. She has raised two sons, experienced divorce, and survived a bout with cancer.

After all that, a 100-level psychology class looked like a piece of cake.

Non-traditional is Now the Norm

More than ever before, the face of the average U.S. college student looks more and more “non-traditional.” According to U.S. Education Department data, only 29% of the country’s 18 million undergraduates are what’s known as “traditional students”—those who graduated from high school and then enrolled full-time in four-year public or nonprofit colleges or universities.

Nearly one million undergraduates were at least 25, and nearly half a million were in their 30s or older.

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