Title page for ETD etd-12222005-090658

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Harrison, Mary Inez
URN etd-12222005-090658
Title Minority students' perception of the high school-to-college transition process and the views of selected informants to the process : a qualitative study
Degree Doctor of Education
Department Counseling and Student Personnel
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cline, Marvin Gerald Committee Co-Chair
Paritzky, Richard S. Committee Co-Chair
Hoffman, Libby R. Committee Member
Moretz, Walter J. Committee Member
Wiswell, Albert K. Committee Member
  • community college
  • transition
  • minority
Date of Defense 1997-06-05
Availability restricted
The departure of large numbers of students from college before degree completion can have far reaching consequences for the institution, the students, and ultimately, for society. The retention rate of black and other minority students enrolled in predominantly white institutions is significantly lower than it is for majority race students. Further, many of the students who depart do so within the first year of attendance. Colleges have responded with a variety of measures designed to retain their students and to assist them towards degree completion. The purpose of this study was to get a better understanding of how students who transitioned into a predominantly white, suburban, community college perceived the transition process from high school; i.e., what and/or who facilitated or impeded their transition into college and in what ways.

Five female minority students (four black and one Hispanic student) who had transitioned into the college via a Summer Transition Program (STP) and had persisted at the college participated in the study.

A loosely structured interview format was used to gather data from the students regarding their transition experiences. The interviews were transcribed into the Ethnograph format, coded, and analyzed, using the basic premises of Glaser and Strauss' (1967) grounded theory approach. Additionally, five other informants were interviewed or observed for the study. They were either named directly by the students as having an impact on their transition experience, or the informants' positions in the educational system placed them in contact with transitioning students. The informants included a parent of one of the students, a professor who taught the students in the STP, two high school counselors, and a high school teacher. The analysis of their data added depth and knowledge to the investigation.

Using data from the students and the informants, the findings: (a) indicated that the high school-to-college transition process is a highly individualized one involving many complex relationships and interactions; (b) helped the researcher to identify people, processes, and roles that affected the transition process; (c) assisted the researcher in seeing how a mechanism (STP) set up to aid in the students' transition was perceived by the students, and (d) affirmed that the students' desire and decision to enroll and stay in college were the major factors in their persistence.

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