Adult Learners Advising Community Resources

Resources are grouped by type.  If the resource appears to align with one or more of the critical areas for adult learner success, the area number is included at the end of the citation


Critical Area #1 – support for their learning development

Critical Area #2 – student and academic services convenient for adults

Critical Area #3networking and community building opportunities

Critical Area #4 – strategies for balancing work, life, and school responsibilities

Critical Area #5 motivation to complete their programs


Additional NACADA Resources (not in another section below):


Carlman, K. (2017). Are you my advisor?: Essential insight into adult learners. Academic Advising Today, 40(4). Retrieved from

Giroir, B., & Schwehm, J. (2014). Implementing Intrusive Advising Principles for Adult Learners in Online Programs. Retrieved from NACADA Clearinghouse Resource Web Site:

Johnson, S. L., Hendrickson, N., Donaugh, D., & Heinrichs, G. (2018). Degree completion programs for returning undergraduate seniors. Academic Advising Today, 41(3). Retrieved from

Mason-Browne, P., & Ortgies Young, T. (2013). Other voices: Female adult learners. Academic Advising Today, 36(2). Retrieved from

Peck, L. (2009). Advisors can steer adult learners toward peer support. Academic Advising Today, 32(4). Retrieved from

Peters, L., Hyun, M., Taylor, S., & Varney, J. (2010). Advising non-traditional students: Beyond class schedules and degree requirements. Academic Advising Today, 33(3). Retrieved from

Polson, C. (2009). Task force on adult student advisors: Providing the stimulus for organizational change. Academic Advising Today, 32(3). Retrieved from

Rans, J. (2014). The resiliency of adult learners. Academic Advising Today, 37(1). Retrieved from

Sapp, L. C., & Williams, S. A. (2015). Best practices in advising non-traditional students. Academic Advising Today, 38(4). Retrieved from

Skorupa, K. (2002). Adult learners as consumers. Academic Advising Today, 25(3). Retrieved from

Snyder, E., & Zona, L. (2018). The returning adult learner: Advising strategies to support their degree completion efforts. Academic Advising Today, 41(1). Retrieved from

Stanfield, G. M. (2019). Advisor impact on nontraditional students’ perception of mattering. Academic Advising Today, 42(3). Retrieved from

Varney, J., & Peck, L. (2012). Understanding and Addressing the Needs of Adult Learners. NACADA Pocket Guide Series PG12.




Kasworm, C. E., Polson, C. J., & Fishback, S. J. (2002). Responding to Adult Learners in Higher Education. Krieger Pub Co. 

Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L. L. (2013). Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. Jossey-Bass.  Critical Area #1

Miller, D. E. C. (2021). Pathway to Success: A Comprehensive Guide for the Nontraditional Learner. Outskirts Press.  Critical Area #5

Pratt, D. (1998). Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher Education (Original edition). Krieger Pub Co.  Critical Area #1

Wlodkowski, R. J., & Ginsberg, M. B. (2017). Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults (4 edition). Jossey-Bass.  Critical Area #1, #5


Journal Articles:


Bergman, M., Gross, J. P. K., Berry, M., & Shuck, B. (2014). If Life Happened but a Degree Didn’t: Examining Factors That Impact Adult Student Persistence. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 62(2), 90–101.  Critical Area #5

Cherrstrom, C. A., Robbins, S. E., & Bixby, J. (2017). 10 Years of Adult Learning. Adult Learning, 28(1), 3–11.

Davidson, J. C., & Holbrook, W. T. (2014). Predicting Persistence for First-Time Undergraduate Adult Students at Four-Year Institutions Using First-Term Academic Behaviors and Outcomes. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 62(2), 78–89.  Critical Area #5

Francois, E. J. (2014). Motivational orientations of non-traditional adult students to enroll in a degree-seeking program. New Horizons in Adult Education & Human Resource Development, 26(2), 19–35.  Critical Area #5

Giancola, J. K., Munz, D. C., & Trares, S. (2008). First- Versus Continuing-Generation Adult Students on College Perceptions: Are Differences Actually because of Demographic Variance? Adult Education Quarterly, 58(3), 214–228.  Critical Area #1

Gilardi, S., & Guglielmetti, C. (2011). University Life of Non-Traditional Students: Engagement Styles and Impact on Attrition. Journal of Higher Education, 82(1), 33–53.  Critical Area #5

Goto, S. T., & Martin, C. (2009). Psychology of Success: Overcoming Barriers to Pursuing Further Education. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 57(1), 10–21.

Johnson, S. L. (2021 [2018]). Why Seniors Leave and Why They Return: An Exploratory Case Study. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 23(1), 78–95. First published online September 11, 2018.

Karmelita, C. (2020). Advising Adult Learners During the Transition to College. NACADA Journal, 40(1), 64–79.

Kasworm, C. E. (2008). Emotional Challenges of Adult Learners in Higher Education. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 120, 27–34.

Kasworm, C. E. (2014). Paradoxical Understandings Regarding Adult Undergraduate Persistence. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 62(2), 67–77.

Kimmel, S. B., Gaylor, K. P., & Hayes, J. B. (2014). Understanding adult learners by gender. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 18(2), 73–89.

Lee, Y., Choi, J., & Kim, T. (2013). Discriminating factors between completers of and dropouts from online learning courses. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 328–337.

Miller, N. B. (2014). Nontraditional Student Graduation Rate Benchmarks. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 62(3), 141–151.  Critical Area #5

Osam, E. K., Bergman, M., & Cumberland, D. M. (2017). An Integrative Literature Review on the Barriers Impacting Adult Learners’ Return to College. Adult Learning, 28(2), 54–60.

Park, J. H., & Choi, H. J. (2009). Factors Influencing Adult Learners’ Decision to Drop Out or Persist in Online Learning. Educational Technology & Society, 12(4), 207–2017.  Critical Area #5

Ritt, E. (2008). Redefining Tradition: Adult Learners and Higher Education. Adult Learning, 19(1/2), 12–16.

Spellman, N. (2007). Enrollment and retention barriers adult students encounter. Community College Enterprise, 13(1), 63–79.

Tennant, A. (2014). The Effect of Mathematics on the College Graduation Rates of Adult Students. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 62(1), 17–28.

Wyatt, L. G. (2011). Nontraditional Student Engagement: Increasing Adult Student Success and Retention. Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 59(1), 10–20.




Carnevale, A. P., Smith, N., Melton, M., & Price, E. W. (2015). Learning While Earning: The New Normal (p. 70). Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce.  Critical Area #4

Horn, L., Cataldi, E. F., & Sikora, A. (2005). Waiting to Attend College: Undergraduates Who Delay Their Postsecondary Enrollment (NCES 2005-152).

Johnson, N., & Bell, A. (2014). Scaling completion college services as a model for increasing adult degree completion. Lumina Foundation for Education.  Critical Area #5

Matus-Grossman, L., & Gooden, S. (2002). Opening Doors: Students’ Perspectives on Juggling Work, Family, and College. Manpower Demonstration Research Corp.  Critical Area #4

Mauldin, J. E., Gahn, S. W., & Wlodkowski, R. J. (2001). Learning in the fast lane: Adult learners’ persistence and success in accelerated college programs (New Agenda Series). Lumina Foundation for Education.  Critical Area #5


Webinars / Videos:


Georgetown University CEW. (2015). Learning While Earning: The New Normal.  Critical Area #4 (also see affiliated Report)

Miller, E. C., Johnson, S. L., Jamieson, B., and Firestein, C. (2021, May 25). Supporting Adult Learners Through COVID19 and Beyond: A Panel Conversation with Adult Learner Advising Specialists 

NACADA. (2016, August 9). Academic Advising for Adult Learners.  Critical Area #2

UPCEA. (2017, March 8). Adult Learners and the Economy: A Capitol Hill Briefing by the National Adult Learner Coalition.

Waller, L. R. (2013a, August 20). Andragogy 1—The Adult Learner.  Critical Area #1

Waller, L. R. (2013b, August 20). Andragogy 2—Characteristics of the Adult Learner. Critical Area #1

Waller, L. R. (2013c, August 20). Andragogy 3—Strategies for Instruction.  Critical Area #1

Zmija, D., Bushman, J., and Trella, P. (2021, July 27). Adult Learners as the New Kids on the Block. 


Academic Advising for Adult Learners: