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ERIC Number: ED535294
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 406
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-6732-8
The First-Generation Adult Community College Student: A Case Study of Persistence Strategies
Boulanger, Jennifer A.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
All college students face new challenges and transitions, but for first-generation adult community college students, those challenges are more pervasive than those of their second-generation peers. The problem addressed is that first-generation adult community college students are at greater risk than their second-generation peers of dropping out of college within the first year of study. This qualitative case study explored what first-generation adult community college persisters report about the strategies that helped them to stay in college. The study is important because it promotes a democratic agenda by fostering access to education among a group of individuals who have been marginalized in the past. A qualitative design that included student responses to a self-nominating survey and critical incident, in-depth student interviews, and practitioner focus groups provided abundant data that were coded and carefully analyzed. Findings included the significant influence on persistence strategy formation of the students' lifeworld, the background structures and context of the students' lives. Students' self-efficacy, their belief in their ability to achieve academic success, was important to their persistence ability and was enhanced through positive experiences during college. Findings regarding social and environmental strategies implemented by students included intentional postponement of college to address family needs, retreating from unsupportive family members, distancing from unsupportive friends, turning to prayer, and receiving work benefits. Independent study strategies included discovery of a vocation, time management and use of active learning study techniques. Within the institution, students sought caring mentors, effective teachers and engagement with peers in organically-formed study groups which provided a sense of shared purpose and belonging, as well as reinforcement of academic work. The main recommendations included the establishment of an adult student nurturing climate at the institution, the development of early success programs to promote self-efficacy, instruction to encourage cultivation of coping mechanisms to address emotional reactions to family stressors, and establishment of learning communities or communities of practice to foster important peer interactions. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A