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Dissertation (UNI Access Only)

Abstract

College students may experience many barriers to their success. These barriers, whether inside or outside the classroom, can affect their success as a student. Common barriers include environment, finances, family, personal characteristics, and lack of preparation for college (Astin, 1985; Brock, 2010; Karimshah et al., 2013; Szafran, 2001; Schuck, 2017; Tinto, 1993). Colleges have begun to focus on how to help students overcome or avoid those barriers in order to increase student success and retention.

The purpose of this study was to identify barriers to student success and determine how student support services could help students overcome those barriers. This research was a phenomenological study of community college students and support services staff. Research included interviews with four students and seven staff members, observations of each student meeting with a student support staff member, and relevant documents. Analysis included poems and narratives to help portray the participants’ experiences. These poems and narratives allowed analysis in the participants’ own words.

Results indicated that students face a variety of barriers, including lack of study skills or time management, family responsibilities, work, finances, and mental illness. Results supported Tinto’s (1993) view that the college student is changing. They also showed that college students lack study skills and support services can help develop them. Like past research, results indicated that engagement is important to student success (Astin, 1985; Svanum & Bigatti; 2009; Tinto, 1993; Webber, Krylow, & Zhang, 2013). Student support services can help students overcome barriers in many ways, including campus counseling, advising, tutoring, and simply listening.

Year of Submission

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. David Schmid, Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Denise Schares, Co-Chair

Date Original

2019

Object Description

1 PDF (V, 153 Pages)

Language

en

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