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Adult Student Experiences with Academic Advising

Jeannette M Passmore, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation examines the need to better understand the academic advising experiences of adult students at an urban community college in Ohio. The College has experienced declining adult student enrollment at a time when the state is experiencing a greater need for an educated workforce. State labor data indicates only 43.2% of adults have earned a post-secondary degree or credential in a market where, by 2020, 64% of jobs in the state will require a degree or credential. Adult students indicated in national surveys of student engagement that academic advising is a service important to them. Yet, they also indicate low levels of satisfaction with the advising services they are receiving. Studies of adult student success often focus on student entry characteristics or academic integration, factors that a college cannot directly influence. Providing academic advising experiences that address the needs of adult students is within the purview of the College and promotes student success. Using a descriptive case study methodology, the study sought to answer the question “What are the academic advising experiences of adult students at Midwest Community College?” The qualitative approach placed an emphasis on adult students’ experiences within the context of the College. Individual semi-structured interviews were coded to determine emerging themes, causes and explanations, and relationships between academic advisors and students. The participants interviewed for this study sought academic advising relationships that went beyond receiving knowledge regarding the College and degree requirements. They were seeking academic advisors who would get to know them and hear their stories. The participants wanted experiences where in the academic advisors demonstrated genuine interest and care regarding student needs, expectations, and goals. Students descriptions of ideal academic advising experiences include elements of proactive advising style including significant program knowledge, understanding the academic rigor of courses, comprehensive planning, and proactive communication. Students also were interested in relationships with academic advisors who used interviewing skills, spent time with them, and developed trust.

Subject Area

Community college education|Adult education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Passmore, Jeannette M, "Adult Student Experiences with Academic Advising" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI22622423.