Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


School Psychology



First Advisor

Margaret R. Rogers


The purpose of the present study was to examine the educational experiences of Hispanic immigrant-English Language Learners (ELLs) who are graduates of the International High Schools and attended and graduated from a community college. The study focuses on the International High School experiences that seem to foster community college readiness. Moreover, the study focuses on supports and challenges experienced by these individuals, the implications of their second language abilities during their time at their community college, and the reason(s) many Hispanic immigrant-ELLs stop at the Associate’s degree and do not continue through to the bachelor’s degree. Twelve International High School graduates participated in the study. Qualitative methods were employed and data obtained through semi-structured interviews were analyzed using content analysis.

The results showed that participants had a generally good experience at their International High School, and that they found helpful and supportive individuals such as teachers and classmates that helped them get through their high school education. In addition, International High Schools prepared participants for community college through academic and language learning related activities. Many participants communicated that the International High Schools provided them with a general preparation for college, including the opportunity to take college courses and participate in internships. Participants also communicated that while in community college, they received support and encouragement from academic programs as well as from faculty/professors. However, the most commonly identified challenge experienced by participants were negative interactions with professors and staff at their community college.

Furthermore, the majority of International High School graduates communicated that their second language abilities were helpful/beneficial during their community college years because it helped them academically, and it also helped increase their social interactions with other Spanish-speaking students. Participants also shared their thoughts regarding the reason(s) many Hispanic immigrant-ELLs may stop at the Associate’s degree and do not continue through to a baccalaureate degree. The majority of participants felt that the main reasons many Hispanic immigrant-ELLs do not continue through to a baccalaureate degree is because of financial reasons, and because they have familial obligations that impede them from continuing their education further. In providing advice for other immigrant students whose native language is not English to help them get through community college, almost all of the participants provided general encouragement, as well as advice to make use of resources in their community college - including the importance of asking for help.



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