Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry Ebbers


The vision statement of one large Midwestern community college is "dedicated to helping students achieve lifelong fulfillment by providing a quality, innovative and responsive learning environment. Each day, [the college] champions the aspirations of individuals, communities and the state..." Helping each individual realize a lifelong dream is centered on providing a quality education so that he or she may benefit economically, socially, and personally to achieve a better quality of life that expands those benefits to the community, state and world.

Evaluating where the college stands on access to individuals and the communities it serves is critical. It is important to determine whether the population within the service area is taking advantage of services at the community college to place themselves into a more beneficial and marketable position to earn more economically and become more productive members of society. This qualitative study is designed to examine the experiences and perceptions of General Education Development (GED) completers who have chosen to continue their education at the community college. A research participation request was sent to all graduates of either the spring 2010 or summer 2010 semester from a Midwestern community college. Out of 54 students who completed their degrees, six participants described their experiences from the initial stages of getting their GED's through the process of entering college, completing the coursework and acquiring the degree. Each participant provided a personal reflective essay and engaged in an interview and one perception check. Content from the personal reflective essays, transcriptions of the interviews and perception checks and educational records were the data used for this analysis. Although there has been an increasing number of individuals who choose to continue their education after completing a GED, there is very little data determining the success level of this student population. There has been neither a formal analysis of the success of GED completers entering the community college setting nor an analysis of whether or not the GED completers have successfully reached their goals and the issues that impacted the transition. Analyzing the transition experience and determining both the barriers and supports offered by the institution as well as the personal aspects of the individual can increase awareness that may benefit the college in understanding what programming is needed and beneficial; furthermore, analysis can determine what aspects of the learner are critical to develop when the individual decides to pursue higher education.


Copyright Owner

Christina Marie Dunn Carpenter



Date Available


File Format


File Size

202 pages