I am a college student. However, I’m not a 20-year-old, free-spirited, “find-yourself-because-you-have-no-responsibilities” college student. I’m a married, home owning veteran of foreign wars. This difference can be substantial and companies should understand that this does affect my shopping habits.

The main way that being a non-tradition student affects what I buy is socializing. Football tailgaters, sorority parties, beer-pong tournaments, and roommates are part of the college experience that I never experience. I don’t view the other students as my off-campus peer group. I have more in common with their parents. I don’t care to hear about Halo and hookups, and they don’t care to hear me complain about my husband or my property taxes.

This creates a disadvantage as a consumer because it excludes me from the college-kid social network. Information about products, discounts, and specials that pertain to college students focuses on marketing techniques that don’t reach people like me. If a company doesn’t advertise their student discount outside of the college social network, then we will falls through the cracks.

And yes, student discounts are often the deciding factor in what I purchase. I am a full-time student that must take every opportunity to stretch my dollar. Furthermore, I am accustomed to being able to buy grown-up priced merchandise because I USED to have a full time grown-up job. If I can find a way to afford it, then I will buy it.

I know that I am a little more difficult to reach, but leave me out of the loop at your own risk. Non-traditional students are more likely to complete their education. This means a safer bet about future purchasing power. Right now, however, I both need and am persuaded by student discounts. I just wish that I were included in the marketing strategy. Someday soon you will also wish I had been included in your marketing strategy.