The literature on community colleges is overwhelmed by outcomes-oriented data concerning retention, attrition, and graduation rates. What we lack is a more complete understanding of why community college students choose to enroll in the first place. The current study seeks to fill this gap. Through a series of semi-structured interviews, students reported feeling motivated to attend community college by their desires to reconstruct themselves as scholars, make proud their families and communities of origin, achieve social mobility, and develop a more accomplished and purposeful sense of self. Implications of these findings for teaching and learning are discussed, as is the importance of using identity as a lens for understanding students’ motivations.
Community College, Narratives, Qualitative Research, Developmental Education, Aspirations, Goals, Motivations, Identity
I would like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Emily Schnee for her participation in the current project.
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Recommended APA Citation
VanOra, J. P. (2019). “I Wanted to Know More”: A Narrative Exploration of Community College Students’ Goals and Aspirations. The Qualitative Report, 24(5), 1168-1180. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3961