Experiences of nontraditional college students in a music education program
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of nontraditional college students (25 years of age or older with multiple life roles) majoring in music education. Four participants reported their university program experiences and reasons for pursuing music education in adulthood. Themes related to persistence in college were identified, such as barriers and sources of support. Interviews, demographic questionnaires, and researcher journal notes provided data for analysis. Although catalysts for returning to school vary, findings show that nontraditional college students aspire to become music educators as a result of past experiences with music and/or teaching. Respectively, situational and institutional barriers pose the greatest threats to this population concerning program completion, but a supportive network of family and faculty helps them to endure. Suggestions for enhancing the educational experiences of nontraditional college students include more diversity in class scheduling and course format, as well as prior community college attendance.