0000-0001-7208-0917 (Cruz), 0000-0002-6706-5613 (Glass)


Darden College of Education and Professional Studies


Ph.D. Higher Education - Educational Foundations and Leadership

Publication Date

Spring 2020




There has been a substantial growth in global student mobility in the last twenty years, with almost five million students choosing to study outside their home country for tertiary education. Likewise, P12 international schools have experienced tremendous growth, with over five million students enrolled worldwide. Students from international schools often find themselves at a crossroads when choosing a university. To unpack the college choice process and understand how students viewed their transnational identities as important factors in their self-formation, researchers interviewed 19 graduating students from international schools and countries across the world. This longitudinal phenomenological study used self-formation (Marginson, 2018) and the push-pull theory (Altbach, 1998) as theoretical frameworks. Researchers explored the key people and experiences that shaped students’ college choice process and their expectations for the future through semi-structured interviews. The conversations highlighted four main elements that shaped their views of the ideal university experience: pre-college experiences, college explorations, college choice, and post-college aspirations. The second round of interviews will explore how students’ college expectations have compared to their actual experience, and how their transnational identities and self-formation has evolved.


International schools, International students, College choice, College exploration


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Higher Education | International and Comparative Education



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Re-imagining the Collegiate Ideal: An Exploration of the Higher Education Motivations and Self-Formation of Students From International Schools