Rural Community College Nontraditional Women: Overcoming Educational Barriers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nancy S. Phillips (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Deborah Taub

Abstract: Community colleges may provide access and opportunity to acquire higher levels of academic education; however, the students' decision to persist from semester to semester is contingent upon the individuals' life circumstances. Community colleges are experiencing increased enrollment of nontraditional women, especially in vocational technical programs of study. Research in the changing characteristics of nontraditional female students will assist community colleges in realizing their mission, by providing direction with planning, implementing, and evaluating services designed to meet the needs of this segment of the student population. The purpose of this qualitative study was to learn more about how nontraditional women overcome educational barriers in a community college vocational technical program of study. The researcher also sought to bring insights about the experiences of being an adult female returning to education at a rural community college. Research participants included 15 nontraditional women at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia. Through semi-structured interviews, personal experiences of women overcoming educational barriers were explored. The findings revealed that participants entered the educational experience with apprehension, but with a sense of determination to achieve their educational goal for their own self esteem and significant others in their life (especially their children). Participants reported barriers as: financial, conflict in role obligations, limited time, and self-doubt in academic preparation, which were overcome by determination and seeking assistance through the Student Support Services program. Finally, participants suggested implementing a specialized, nontraditional female focused orientation course, on-site daycare services, and extended Student Support Services to meet the needs of this segment of the student population.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Rural Community College, nontraditional students, women
Community colleges
Nontraditional college students
Women college students
Education, Rural
Prediction of scholastic success
Motivation in education

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