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ERIC Number: ED552422
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 136
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-1368-5
A Study in Persistence: The Weekend College Experience
Miller, Ellen C.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Hofstra University
With older students being the new majority on campus today, it is imperative to understand the experience of adult learners who decide to return to school to complete their degree. The reasons for this surge of older students enrolling in undergraduate degree programs include the need for a more educated workforce as well as the national initiative of increasing college degree completion. This qualitative study examined the experiences of graduates of a specialized adult degree program at a mid-sized northeastern university and the ultimate impact it had on their lives. The research questions that guided this study were, (1) Which program factors facilitated degree completion? (2) How did non-programmatic factors influence persistence? (3) How did this experience impact their lives both personally and professionally? Twenty graduates of an adult-oriented weekend college program participated in the data collection which included focus group sessions, individual interviews, as well as archival data. These former students graduated from the program between December 2005-May 2009. The data was analyzed using open coding, axial coding, selective coding and memo writing. The analysis of the data revealed that having shared characteristics, previous educational experiences and shared motivations facilitated their ability to bond as a unit. This cohesiveness made a significant impact on the students persisting through to graduation as well as developing life-long personal and professional relationships. The students appreciated the lock-step, accelerated structure of the program which allowed them to graduate as quickly as possible and study a wide variety of disciplines that would be useful in the modern day workplace. The students felt nurtured and supported in their college within a college by both the faculty and staff. Ultimately, for all of the participants this experience led to a sense of personal growth and transformation. Consequently, this study has important implications for how higher education institutions can more effectively support their adult undergraduate student populations as this group increases its numbers across campuses. Though limited in scope, this study raises questions that warrant further investigation. [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: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A