Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jaekel, Kathryn S.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Fifteen post-traditional, working professional community college students from a public, two-year institution located in the Midwest Region of the United States participated in this case study, which describes the participant’s experiences receiving academic advising. The purposeful sampling of working professional students represented mixed demographics including; five men and ten women, ages 20 to 54, all of whom worked full-time and attended school part-time. The martial status of the participants included single, divorced, and married. Nine of the participants were parents while one participant was responsible for her three younger siblings. For ten of the participants, this was not their first attempt at attending college, while the other five had taken a few years off in between high school and/or the completion of their GED, prior to attending. The methods of this study included two 45-minute semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions and one 30-minute observation of their academic advisement appointment. Upon inductive analysis, the delineation of four themes emerged from the findings. The themes revealed motivations, obstacles and barriers, social and academic interactions, and their overall sense of connectedness and belonging to the college. The participants shared how they prefer to experience their academic advising and the important role their advisor plays in helping them persist. As expressed by the participants of this study, their highest priority and motivation was degree attainment for personal enrichment or the advancement of their career. They also considered the significance of encouraging and supportive relationships from family, their employers, as well as their academic advisor invaluable to overcoming obstacles or barriers they encounter along the way. Moreover, their appreciation and gratitude toward their employer for offering the tuition assistance benefit has resulted in an increased sense of loyalty and desire to remain committed to the company indefinitely. Through the suggested strategies of action shared in this study, advisors will be prepared to recognize and validate post-traditional students on campus by bringing their needs and ideas to light while reducing instances of marginalization. Respecting individual differences through adaptive and intentional advising can result in the enhanced student confidence needed to support students as they progress toward degree attainment.


161 pages




Northern Illinois University

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