Meeting The Returning Student Instead Of Having The Student Come To YouThe adult learner has different priorities and needs than traditional post-secondary students, meeting them where they are taking a different approach. If this population is going to be engaged and part of your school’s enrollment strategy, then your admissions and advising need to change to be responsive to them. Fifty-six percentage of stopped out students cite either Academic or Financial difficulties as the main reason that they have not completed their program of study. Getting these students to re-enroll is only the first part of making sure stopped out students are successful. If their issues are not met with a different approach the likelihood of them repeating their previous experience is high.
Returning students need to talk to the Bursar’s office, sign up for class, file financial aid, and make payments. For students who need academic services or who’s academic skills and knowledge have ossified, the challenge is only increased. It is imperative that an institution not only supply these services but, make the pathway to these services accessible. For the returning student, for whom time is at a premium, one-stop shopping for how to access these services, or even to know they are available or needed, is critical to the persistence of this demographic.
Well trained advisors, or success coaching, can meet these students’ needs. Not by replacing other services offered but, by being a concierge service so that students know what is needed and mitigating the feeling of not knowing that often accompanies transitions back to school. A good advisor can change a student’s attitude from, “can I do this,” to, “I can do this.”
 Dreckmeier, K., & Tilghman, C. (2010). An analysis of inquiry, nonstart, and drop reasons in nontraditional university student populations. Portland, OR: InsideTrack. Retrieved from http://www.insidetrack.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/adult-student-research-paper-chris-tilghman-kai-drekmeier.pdf
 Steele, P., & Erisman, W. (2016). Addressing the College Attainment Gap for Working Adults with Prior College Credit. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 48(2), 46–52.