Veteran-Parent-Worker-UAlbany Student

traditional 2.pngLast semester,  UAlbany BA/MA English student, Transfer Transition Leader, Writing Center tutor and non-traditional student advocate, Jamie Frankenfield, spoke with two of us in ASC to let us know about the plight of non-traditional students and to work together to better inform Nontrads about the services available to them at UAlbany. Jaime is the owner and editor of, a blog “dedicated to the voices and successes of nontraditional students in college.”  A few weeks after our discussion, I was contacted by Jamie’s co-blogger, another UAlbany student and advocate for Nontrads, Tiffany Finkle, who also has her own blog through the Odyssey.  Tiffany thought that we might be interested in sharing one of her posts, but after reading most of what she has written on her site, I really think that Nontrads and anyone working toward their goals would be inspired  by checking out her blog. Since I know that your time is precious, I will highlight two posts, respectively, by Jamie and Tiffany:

Posse for Adult Learners: Five People Non-traditional Students Need for Success

A Not So Traditional Life: Everyday Struggles to Balance Family, Life, Work and School

different 1Are you an nontraditional student? The NODA Nontraditional Student Populations Network  considers students to be non-traditional if they fit any of the the following categories.

  • part-time
  • returning (re-entry)
  • commuter
  • veteran
  • works full-time while enrolled
  • has dependents other than a spouse/partner
  • does not have a high school diploma (completed a GED or equivalent or did not finish high school)

If you are a non-traditional student, you are among many, although you may not know it. Part of our role as advisors is to connect students with campus and community resources that will help you to fulfill your objectives. Sometimes the support that is needed is simply to be connected with someone or ‘someones’ with whom you relate. Hopefully, this post will help you to find the support you need.

Transfer Student Services

UKids Child Care Center
We have a child care center located on campus!

The “Help Me!” tab in our navigation menu, lists many academic and support services. I am not going to duplicate the services listed there – well, I will duplicate at least one!

Veteran Services
In addition to having a VA representative, there is a UAlbany Veterans Student Club, a designated Veterans student lounge  and more.

Services for Commuting Students
We have a Transfer & Commuter Lounge and lockers available so you do not have to lug heavy textbooks or supplies back and forth every day.

study after hours.jpgAcademic Support Services After 5pm

Some of the supports listed are for classes that are offered during the day, but we are listing them since everyone’s schedule is different. After all, there is diversity among non-traditional students too.

  • Online Tutoring for Financial Accounting, Chemistry, Biology, all 100-level Math Courses, any statistics course and writing are offered on certain days, 7pm-Midnight. Click on the link for details.
  • The Writing Center serves students after 5pm in the Library.
  • Advising PLUS and Various Departments offer evening tutoring options. Every semester, you may check out the Advising PLUS Academic Assistance page to see who is offering what.
  • Check out the CSTEP and CARSS (for science majors) programs for additional offerings too!

Discounts for UAlbany Students

This is a developing list. As more information comes to us, I will update this post and share it again. Services and programs for non-traditional students are increasing. We have an online Informatics (Information Technology Concentration) B.S. degree program and our departments are beginning to offer more evening and online classes.  In ASC, we can help you to design an academic plan to graduate based on your goals. If you need help trying to figure this out, please come and see us. We have walk-in advisement Monday – Friday 1pm-5pm. We are located next to the staircase in front of the Main Library.

Written by Rachel Moody, Academic Advisor in ASC and Coordinator of Project MyStory.

If you are a non-traditional student at UAlbany and think that your story might help another student, please contact Rachel at

Meet Christie Allen

Christie Allen
Transfer Student
BSW – Class of 2014
MSW – Class of 2015
Major: Social Welfare

I left my first career in the corporate world to pursue my dream of becoming a social worker. Social work offers a depth and breadth of experience that many other careers can’t offer. I care deeply about the well-being of others and as a professional social worker, I can be utilized as a change agent to make a difference in another person’s life.

As a returning adult student, it isn’t easy to manage a family, finances, and college. My family supported my journey back to college and encouraged me to relentlessly pursue my dream of becoming a social worker.  I am grateful for their support but also the financial sacrifice that they were willing to make to help me achieve my educational goals.

I was overwhelmed when I first came to UAlbany. I didn’t know how to navigate the services available here. The university is rich with resources! I strongly encourage you to meet with your advisor and ask questions. They will strive to help you. I know that when I felt overwhelmed, I went and spoke with my advisor and she was a light in the fog! She listened, cared, and provided contact information for people who were relevant to my success at the university. I couldn’t have done it without her!

If you are a student who struggling, first take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am not alone.”  UAlbany is committed to helping all students achieve academic and personal success. Don’t hesitate to meet with your advisor. They are here to help you. Your education is your responsibility. Own it! If you need help don’t be afraid to say so. I encourage you to reach out to other students and form study groups. If you are struggling, you may want to utilize the Counseling Center. There are counselors available to help you navigate your difficulties and bring back hope!

I would recommend that new students research services and resources available at UAlbany before you start classes. Before I started my first semester, I explored the Uptown Campus. I strongly recommend that you know how to navigate the campus. Know where you are going before your first day of class so that you feel more confident navigating around the college and can relax and enjoy your college experience. Remember to utilize your instructor’s office hours; they want to help you be successful. Remember, this is your educational experience. You must take ownership of it. Talk to people, ask questions, and embrace your learning. College isn’t easy but it is worth it. Remember, never ever give up. You will be graduating before you know it!

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My Name is Scott Heider and This is My Story

Re-posted with permission from

Standing in an airport waiting for the plane that would take me back to a hometown and a place I despised, it occurred to me that I was a twenty-year-old adult with a barely completed high school education, with no money and no future. “What now?” I thought.

scott heiderMy journey into the academic world has been a long one. From elementary school into high school, academics were never a priority. Growing up in severe poverty and having to work to support my family, school work was low on my priority list.  When I was in the fourth grade, I experienced a severe ear infection that resulted in the complete loss of my hearing for two years. This resulted in me being held back due to the amount of school I had missed. When I entered high school, my mother developed very serious health issues that required prolonged hospitalizations. In between hospitalizations, and as the youngest of six siblings who was the only remaining one at home, the responsibility to care for mother fell solely on my shoulders. My mother eventually passed away shortly before the end of my junior year.

After high school and faced with few other options, I decided that I would enlist in the U.S. Army. From my perspective, and for the first time in my life, I would be provided with the opportunity to receive an education, as well as food, clothing, and a paycheck. My life, I thought, had finally begun to take shape. Unfortunately, my plans for a military career were cut short after I suffered a serious back injury on a training mission that eventually resulted in an honorable discharge. Standing in an airport waiting for the plane that would take me back to a hometown and a place I despised, it occurred to me that I was a twenty-year-old adult with a barely completed high school education, with no money and no future. “What now?” I thought.

After a few months of feeling sorry for myself, I ended up taking job at a mom-and-pop home improvement store. Shortly afterwards, I met and married a woman, had a child, and bought a house. Life was moving fast. Professionally, my career at the hardware store had gained momentum. I received several promotions and eventually left the company for a better opportunity with a larger home improvement chain.

Several years and two kids later, and realizing the need for an education to further my career, I enrolled at Empire State College with the goal of a business degree. After a successful first semester, and surprised at my success, I was excited that I was finally in a position to be able to achieve my long awaited academic success. But the realities of family life and the lack of support eventually lead to me withdrawing from school.

Fast forward several years and in a new career, I once again found myself in a position where the need for an education was evident. Encouraged by my previous, but shorted lived academic success, I decided to enroll at Hudson Valley Community College. Although I experienced a medical issue that required me to miss a semester, I eventually graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services. Immediately after graduation, I applied and was accepted into the Social welfare program at the University at Albany.

As I enter my final semester and prepare for graduate school, I am somewhat surprised that I have made it this far. While I do recognize the many obstacles I have overcome to get to this point, and while some would give credit to my harsh upbringing and the discipline I received in the military, I really need to give all the credit to my wife who has made it all possible. Her support, patience, encouragement, and sacrifice have made my academic success all possible. I also need to give credit to God, and to my lord and savior Jesus Christ, who have provided me with the wisdom, strength, and fortitude to keep going when I wanted to quit.

Working and going to school full time and managing the daily dramas of family life is not easy. In fact, it’s been one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I would also suggest to you that without support and encouragement from family, friends, and the academic community, it’s just about impossible.

I tell this story not for sympathy or for praise, but to offer hope and encouragement to other students to keep going when they face the inevitable adversities and challenges of life.

“Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.” – Winston Churchill