This study explored the experiences of 13 culturally traditional women who returned to higher education as nontraditional students. An individual unstructured interview, with guiding questions, was held with each woman. This provided the opportunity for these women to articulate their experience. The interviews were transcribed and interpreted using a synthesis of qualitative methods based upon Kvale's method. Seven themes emerged: (a) participants would tell a woman considering a return to school to "do it!" (b) participants saw spousal support as significant in their ability to return to school, (c) participants saw their families as generally supportive of their return to school, (d) participants felt their spirituality increased when they returned to school, (e) participants were surprised they did well academically when they returned to school, (f) participants felt returning to school had increased their world view, and (g) participants valued higher education and wanted to finish something they had started. The implications of this study support the need for a more open dialogue about the experience of a traditional woman as she returns to obtain her undergraduate degree as a nontraditional student. The support of family and institutions appear integral to both retention and completion for these women who now make up a significant portion of those presently attending institutions of higher learning.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Newell, Candi Jones, "Look Again—Traditional Women as Nontraditional Students: A New Face in Higher Education" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6960.
traditional, nontraditional students, women, students, higher education