Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Molly Duggan

Committee Member

Kellie Sorey

Committee Member

Alice McAdory

Committee Member

Mitchell Williams


The number of U.S. homeschooled students has steadily risen from the 1980's to the present, and many eventually choose to attend community colleges (Cogan, 2010; Mason, 2004; Ray, 2004a; Sorey & Duggan, 2008a). Homeschoolers who make community colleges their first structured educational setting outside the home do so for various reasons: (a) to obtain skills to prepare for a chosen career path or educational goal; (b) for economic reasons; and (c) to stay close to home (Ray, 2004b; Sorey & Duggan, 2008a). Presently, limited research explores the homeschooled population's transition during the first year of college experience. Community colleges are very different educational settings from four year colleges (AACC, 2012). A comprehensive examination of community college homeschooled student transition is needed. Tinto's theory of college adjustment served as the theoretical framework for a multiple case study of three community college students who completed secondary school as homeschoolers. This study describes how they transitioned from the home environment to a mid-sized, Mid Atlantic community college setting, using Tinto's framework of separation, transition, and incorporation. (Tinto, 1993, 1997). While one student definitely achieved incorporation, it can be argued that the remaining students showed signs of incorporation by the conclusion of the study. The data collection used in this study consisted of interviews, observations, journal analysis, and finally, a focus group. The participants found services such as academic advising, disabilities services, and many teachers and classmates to be helpful to them. The participants overcame challenges including medical conditions, demanding curricula, and relocating while attending Mid Atlantic Community College. Recommendations for recruiting homeschooled students include online, community, and campus initiatives. Some suggestions for campus initiatives included may also serve to retain homeschooled students. Future research should examine many aspects of homeschooling community college student populations, such as demographics, work/school interactions, homeschooling approaches, and faith-based comparisons.