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Orient’s use of ‘non-traditional’ student disgraceful

November 30, 2018

This piece represents the opinion of the author .

To whom it may concern:

As a military Veteran, I find it very disgraceful that you would refer to people in the military as “non-traditional” students!

As a former military person and someone that has gone back to school within the past six years, it was very hard for me to go back to school and deal with generational difference. We are taught to be respectful. We may do things differently than the general public, but we have been taught some very good life lessons. What makes someone a “traditional” student? How will there be “social, economic and personal challenges” to becoming a student? I’m sure that you are aware of the course that we “non-traditional” students have to take before leaving the military. It’s called the Transition Assistance Program, which helps assist in the transition from military to civilian life. It does take some time to adjust, and for the most part we do just fine. Everyone has personal issues and challenges. We are not different people when it comes to military and/or civilians. We have lived totally different lives but are still people and still students.

Very respectfully,

Christopher Munt

Bowdoin College

Mechanical Services


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  1. James Pierce says:

    I stand with Christopher Munt and hope more veterans come forward to challenge a smug characterization of veterans as “non traditional” students. This viewpoint of the college shows the underlying definition of a “traditional student”: one who comes from an upper middle class to wealthy background, preferably caucasian, and one whose position isolates oneself from a reality faced by many like the author.

    James A Pierce
    Class of 1969 and veteran

  2. Paul07 says:

    All “non traditional” means is students who aren’t 18 year old high school graduates. Why are you taking offense from a descriptive phrase that is purely objective in nature?

    • Chris munt says:

      Because it’s my view point. To many times do veterans get treat like trash. People are always saying the we need equality and calling someone a Non-traditional student is one way. There is no such thing as a traditional student. Again we come from all walks of life. Just because someone decides to go to school when they are above the age of 18 is more common nowadays then back when. So when it comes to someone callin myself or any veteran a non-traditional student I find it disgraceful. If you don’t agree then that’s fine. Just how I and I’m sure many other veterans would see it.

  3. Alan Neuren says:

    As virtually all officers are college graduates, veterans that would be attending Bowdoin would be coming from the enlisted ranks. They will also be older, more mature, more disciplined, and definitely have a greater world experience than the typical Bowdoin student. Speaking as a veteran, my experience with the overwhelming bulk of sailors and marines is that they are some of the finest young men and women I had the privilege to work with. They would definitely be an asset to the college.

    Alan Neuren ‘68 and a veteran

  4. Kim Lloyd '00 says:


    It’s a definition from the National Center for Education Statistics. It is not a value judgment.

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