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ERIC Number: ED555336
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 228
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-9713-4
Making the Adjustment: A Qualitative Investigation of the Potential of Community College Developmental Summer Bridge Programs in Facilitating Student Adjustment to Four-Year Institutions
Mitchell, Claire E.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
This study qualitatively examines whether participation in a summer bridge program situated at a community college can help students acquire the academic and college knowledge as well as "social know-how" needed to attend and succeed at a four-year higher education institution. The study's theoretical framework helps to elucidate the individual and institutional characteristics that can have an impact on an individual's preparation for, adjustment to, and persistence in college. Theories of social and cultural capital, socialization, and validation as well as adjustment theories adopted from social psychology create a useful framework for understanding the difficulties underrepresented and underprepared students face as they prepare for, transition, and adjust to four-year higher education institutions. The research methodology included semi-structured interviews of students sampled from a larger random assignment study conducted on developmental summer bridge programs (DSBPs) in Texas. The 14 sampled students all participated in a DSBP at one of four Texas community colleges during the summer of 2009. Data collection occurred two years after participation in the DSBPs. At the time of each interview, the participants had attended a four-year institution for at least two semesters. Interpretivist methods were used to analyze the interview data. Findings illuminate the value of DSBPs in bolstering underprepared and low-income student confidence. Findings also reveal and reinforce the importance of the pace and structure of such preparation programs as well as the value of providing institution-specific "college knowledge" that can help community college students to better understand the culture and intellectual norms so that they may successfully navigate the academic and social environment at a four-year institution. Recommendations include providing students with early and clear messages about what they can expect at different types of institutions and designing and implementing programs that do not follow a "one size fits all" model but rather are tailored according to the site of program as well as the aspirations of the student participants. Institutions that implement DSBP should be intentional about what program components they want to offer and/or tailor components to the needs and characteristics of the students in their program during a given summer. [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: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas