Date of Conferral
During the past 40 years, the U.S. homeschooling population rose exponentially. The results of homeschooling need to be studied further so that parents, legislators, and higher education leaders can make prudent and well-informed decisions regarding homeschooled students. No studies have been completed that focus on the unique experiences of homeschooled women as they transition to college in terms of academics, forming new relationships, and individuating from their families. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore academic and relational processes during the transition to college. In this qualitative dissertation based on constructivist design and in the conceptual framework of feminist essentialism, 11 female second- and third-year college students who were homeschooled for all of high school were chosen using criterion sampling. NVivo software was employed for data analysis using Moustakas' modification of the Van Kaam method of data analysis. Findings for this study were, a) homeschooled women felt substantially similar to traditionally schooled students in terms of academics and relationships, and b) homeschooled women felt as though they were raised in a different culture, but they felt equally or slightly more capable academically, more self-directed in their studies, and closer to their families than their traditionally schooled peers did. The results of this study may contribute to positive social change by helping parents, legislators, and college professionals empower homeschooled college women by altering curriculum, by developing supportive programs and policies to help homeschooled women transition to college, and by understanding how to tailor college programs and classes to maximally benefit homeschooled women.