Adjustment and persistence of students from an urban environment to a rural community college

Paula Brown-Weinstock, Syracuse University

Abstract

Although there is considerable research on student adjustment to college, to date no research has been conducted on the urban students' adjustment to a rural college environment. Through the use of focus groups that met three times during the semester, five females and five males from New York City discussed and shared their experience of adjusting to a rural community college environment in upstate New York. The students' explored their perceptions of the rural environment, the barriers and obstacles in their adjustment to and the strategies they used to adjust and persist in the rural college environment. Among the barriers and obstacles faced by the urban students were the lack of public transportation, dealing with racism on and off campus and getting to know students from the local rural area. Successful strategies used to adjust and persist included creating a support system and staying focused on their goals through self-determination and family support. Suggestions are made to faculty, staff and administrators who are working on a rural college campus and find themselves working with a population of students who are from a metropolitan area.