Community College Students' Awareness and Use of College Information
AdvisorCaldwell, Corrinne A.
Committee memberHorvat, Erin McNamara, 1964-
Goyette, Kimberly A.
Davis, James Earl, 1960-
Partlow, Michelle Chaplin, 1941-
SubjectEducation, Community College
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/2981
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AbstractThis qualitative case study utilized interviews with community college students enrolled in at least one developmental course to describe how students accessed college information and used this information to solidify or adjust their educational aspirations. College information sources included relatives, friends, classmates, professors, advisors, and other college personnel. Bourdieu's cultural capital and Tinto's integration frameworks were used as guiding theories. This study utilized semi-structured interviews with 15 first-time, full-time, remedial students at a suburban community college in the northeastern United States. Interviews conducted in the fall and spring semesters explored students' perceptions of college information sources in order to gain insight into how students viewed information and its implications over time. This study identified four categories that broadly characterize students' information seeking and application behavior: students were classified as dreamers, drifters, passengers, or planners. Students classified as dreamers had difficulty aligning their career and educational goals. While college information was an issue for dreamers, they required more intensive guidance about their larger educational picture before information about intermediary steps would be meaningful for them. Drifters had informed educational goals, but possessed incomplete information or had difficulty applying strategies to reach these goals. Passengers and planners were well-informed and had specific strategies to accomplish their educational aspirations. Planners actively sought out information. Passengers benefited from a guide, such as a dedicated advisor or mentor, who helped them to interpret and apply the information. This study suggests that just presenting students with information is insufficient; to get students on surer footing, colleges should explore both decreasing the need for information in the first place and providing students assistance with applying information to their unique situations.
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