Supporting American Indian Students in the Transition to Postsecondary Education
Author(s): Bosse, S. A., Duncan, K., Gapp, S. C., & Newland, L. A.
Citation: Bosse, S. A., Duncan, K., Gapp, S. C., & Newland, L. A. (2011). Supporting American Indian Students in the Transition to Postsecondary Education. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 23(2), 29-48.
The purpose of this study was to examine the factors that promote successful transitions into and through postsecondary education for American Indian students, from the perspectives of the student, school counselor, and college advisor. The method of study included analysis of interview transcripts from clinical practitioners, service providers, and American Indian advisees who had successfully completed postsecondary education programs. A phenomenological approach was used that included a multistep analysis to identify significant statements and themes among participant responses. Interviews revealed that strong academic preparation, motivation and self-confidence, family support, ongoing relations with culturally sensitive faculty members and advisors, strong connections with culturally relevant peer groups, and a clear focus for the future were all factors related to successful transitions to postsecondary programs. Success in degree completion was related to supportive relationships that take into account students’ cultural backgrounds and the integration of students’ cultural identities into the context of higher education.