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Student Planning and Information Problems in Different College Structures

by Ann E. Person, James E. Rosenbaum & Regina Deil-Amen - 2006

Over the past three decades, colleges have experienced revolutionary changes, and the enrollment revolution has had a particularly profound impact on 2-year colleges. We describe the new kinds of students who are entering college today and the ways that colleges have begun to adapt. Then, analyzing interviews with students and administrators and a survey of nearly 4,400 students in 14 two-year colleges, we examine four questions: (1) Do students have serious information problems, and are college procedures ever responsible? (2) How can college structures improve students' information and planning? (3) Do colleges with alternative structures affect student information and confidence? (4) Do alternative college structures matter, net of student attributes? The results suggest new approaches to addressing the information needs of college students, which may have important implications for their confidence and success. The evidence in this study suggests that structured programs, structured advising, and structured peer supports should be added to the menu of college policy alternatives that deserve further consideration.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 3, 2006, p. 374-396
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12329, Date Accessed: 8/1/2021 3:16:40 PM

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About the Author
  • Ann Person
    Northwestern University
    E-mail Author
    ANN E. PERSON is a doctoral student in human development and social policy and a graduate fellow with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She holds a Spencer Research Training Grant and was recently awarded a dissertation grant by the Association for Institutional Research. Her research interests include education policy and the school-to-work transition, and student social networks and the transition to adulthood. She has worked as a teacher and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools and for the University of Wyoming.
  • James Rosenbaum
    Northwestern University
    JAMES E. ROSENBAUM, PhD, is professor of sociology, education, and social policy at Northwestern University. His main areas of interest are education, work, social stratification, and careers and the life course. His recent book, Beyond College for All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half, received the American Sociological Associationís Willard Waller Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the sociology of education. He is currently conducting studies on the transition to work among community college students.
  • Regina Deil-Amen
    Education Theory and Policy, Pennsylvania State University
    E-mail Author
    REGINA DEIL-AMEN is an assistant professor of educational theory and policy at Penn State. She is the author of several articles and a forthcoming book based on her research exploring how community colleges and private postsecondary vocational colleges structure studentsí educational experiences and prepare students for sub-baccalaureate careers. Her research interests include sociology of education, educational stratification and inequality, college aspirations and persistence, race/ethnicity, and social class. She is currently a NAE/Spencer postdoctoral fellow studying the transition to college among low-income students.
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