By Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) - Mother, early 30s, financially independent, loves shopping online: The description may not match your idea of the typical college student.
But Edudemic.com is working to reshape the stereotype with some new data about today’s seekers of higher education.
For instance, over 6 million of today’s college students - about 30% - will go online for at least one of their courses, according to the report. And they'll stay online to do their shopping; college students spent $16 billion over the internet in 2011.
It’s easy to understand how the recession drove many adults back to college campuses. But the idea that 25% of today’s college students are over age 30 might come as a surprise. So might the estimate that half of them are financially independent, whereas many of us remember calling home for pizza money.
A study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education estimated that only a third of new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will require a bachelor's or higher degree. Today’s enrollment reflects that. Edudemic.com states that over 50% of today’s students are working toward a certification that takes less time to achieve, such as studying a trade or earning an associate’s degree.
And 27% will be balancing their studies with parenting.
The report notes that a total of 19.7 million people will enroll in college this year. That works out to more than 6% of the U.S. population.
By Robyn Barberry, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Robyn Barberry teaches English at an alternative high school and a community college in Maryland. With her husband, she manages Legends of the Fog, a haunted attraction with more than 200 teen volunteers. She has an Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Goucher College and blogs about motherhood for The Catholic Review.
(CNN) – On the first day of classes late last month, I kissed my little boys goodbye and updated my Facebook status: “Wishing all my teacher friends a happy new school year!” I rushed to my classroom at an alternative high school near my home outside of Baltimore. When I turned on the LCD projector, a soft glow of dust-speckled light hit the stark white screen, and displayed the words “Welcome back!” I was prepared for everything except what happened.
When I was leaving the office, the school resource officer stopped me.
“There was a school shooting today...in Perry Hall,” he told me.
I must have stared at him for an entire minute before I could speak.
Shootings didn’t happen anywhere on the first day of school. Certainly not in Perry Hall.
The officer was armed with a badge, combat training and a service weapon, and he wasn’t prepared for this, either. He said a lone gunman had shot one person in the back, and that he’d already been apprehended. There was no word on the victim’s condition.
This wasn’t the way the first day of school is supposed to be. The beginning of a new academic year offers a clean slate for teachers and students alike. We debut new, improved versions of ourselves. “This year we will shine,” we convince each other. Dreams like this are never deferred by the crack of a shotgun across a school cafeteria on the first day of school.