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ERIC Number: ED551728
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 121
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-4052-3
Characteristics of Adult Students Transitioning to a Traditional University and Perceptions of Student Services
Rollins, Dani J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northern Arizona University
Limited research is devoted to the transitional process of adult students to the traditional university environment. Considering the incredible numbers of adults projected to return to higher education and/or entering a college or university program for the first time, it behooves institutions of higher learning to invest in the success of adult students. The attrition rate for adult learners has been much higher than that of traditionally aged students, with an average dropout rate of 56.6% at two-year institutions and 49.9% at four-year institutions (Noel-Levitz, 2008). This study utilized survey responses to identify factors that have contributed to the successful transition of adult students to the traditional university environment, as well as offering adult students the opportunity to make recommendations on student services that may assist University X in being more adult-learner friendly. This study examined the characteristics of adult students transitioning to a traditional university setting as well as examining their impressions of the services offered at the university after having completed one full academic year of study. A mixed-method survey was utilized, including Likert-scaled questions and open-ended response options allowing students to describe experiences in their own words. The surveys were distributed electronically to all adult students enrolled (either full time or part time) at the university for the spring 2011 semester; follow-up interviews with students were also conducted. The study revealed that adult students found the transition to be somewhat more frustrating than expected. The study also revealed that adult-learners were frustrated by the university's refusal to embrace experiential over theoretical learning, and to a lesser extent its lack of flexibility in course design and delivery. In terms of student services, the adult-learners in this study valued dedicated physical space over other student services, and were concerned less by the cost of tuition than the cost of textbooks and other fees. [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; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A