A Narrative Inquiry Study of Single Parents' Motivation to Pursue a College Degree

A Narrative Inquiry Study of Single Parents' Motivation to Pursue a College Degree

Author: 
Catherine Lynn Wahl
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The number of single parents continues to rise. Colleges and universities meet the needs of a diverse student population, yet fail to adapt to support the single parent population. The problem is single parents face barriers that can affect their motivational factors and degree attainment after college enrollment. Situational and institutional barriers may interfere with the time it takes to complete a college degree. The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry study was to explore single parents’ motivational factors associated with higher education toward college completion and retention. The research design consisted of qualitative data collection in the form of structured and conversational interviews with fifteen single parent college students. Five significant themes emerged: Back to School, Family Support, Goals, Motivation to Achieve Goals, and College Assistance Wish List. Future research based on these themes may be used bridge the gap between single parent college students and traditional college students when looking at motivation and college success. Recommendations from these themes may assist higher education administration with ideas on how to increase college retention and graduation rates for the single parent population.
Dedication: 
I dedicate my dissertation work to my children, Halina, Liliana, and Jaxton. Even though you are small children now, each moment apart served as encouragement and a push for tenacity. I wish for all of you to embrace the practice of lifelong learning and the power of knowledge. I let my experiences serve as proof that anything can be done if you put your mind to it and your heart in it. I love you all. To my husband Greg who was my listening ear throughout this process. Thank you for spending time with our children when I could not and for sacrificing your time with me as well. I would also like to dedicate my work to my cheerleaders, Eddie J and Miss Sandy. You were my rocks. I thank you for serving as my sounding boards and for working through the PhD program by my side. When the going got tough, I called you. I thank you for answering the phone late at night and even during football games (Eddie J.). Thank you for giving me your support even during the times you needed mine. You two never let me down. Lastly, to my father, who may have doubted me when I began my program. You gave me the determination I needed. I love you and I’ll see you at graduation.
Acknowledgements: 
Words cannot express, My level of gratitude, To those who helped me achieve, A degree of this magnitude. The first shout out goes, To my chair Dr. Dale Crowe, Whose relentless feedback, Assisted more than he’ll know. To the wonderful Dr. Jordano, Words cannot convey or express, My appreciation for your dedication, Throughout this entire process. To my Lord, Jesus Christ, It was only through your grace from above, That I’ve complete this journey, As a result of Your love. I thank you all dearly, For all that you’ve done, You’ve contributed to a new journey, That has only just begun.