Date of Conferral







Cheryl T. Balkcom



Many young adult Haitian immigrant students (YAHIS) move to the United States

hoping to achieve better lives. This growing population faces many challenges when

acculturating to a new country and educational system. Some obstacles include

inadequate family and social support, language barriers, limited education, distinct

cultural values, a lack of academic materials, a shortage of Haitian teachers, and

inadequate educational programs. These psychosocial factors often prevent Haitian

immigrants from succeeding in U.S. schools. This study explored YAHIS' experiences of

acculturation and education as they relate to these psychosocial factors. Qualitative

phenomenological techniques, guided by Adlerian theory, revealed the assumptions,

meanings, and feelings of the study participants via in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 10 YAHIS. Key findings included the identification of common themes regarding critical factors for academic success: (a) family support; (b) role of culture; (c) educational opportunities; (d) challenges of acculturation; (e) questioning of self-identify; and (f) personal attitude. These findings may inform schools, universities, and professionals who seek to assist YAHIS acculturate and succeed in the U.S. educational system. The study findings may facilitate positive social change by enabling scholars, school psychologists, educators, and family members to help YAHIS integrate into U.S. society, succeed in education, and contribute to their communities. Specifically, results suggest that administrators must provide increased transparency regarding access to education in the United States and additional information about the registration process to ensure YAHIS acculturate and have all necessary support to succeed in higher education.