Independent students pursue higher education without financial, practical, and sometimes emotional support from family. For these students, asking for assistance when needed is key for college persistence. Decisions around help-seeking are shaped by multiple factors but are often portrayed as a solely individual decision. This study examined factors affecting help seeking among independent students enrolled in a four-year university. Within a process evaluation of a campus support program for independent students, we conducted in-depth, individual interviews with 23 independent students ages 18–23, as well as 5 university staff. Students described a range of psychological and relational factors influencing their willingness to seek assistance and identified significant barriers to help-seeking. In contrast, staff interviews focused more on perceived student deficits in help-seeking. Both groups also identified institutional factors that influenced student efforts to seek assistance. Findings can inform the development of effective campus-based services to support the retention of independent students.
|Journal||Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2023|
- foster care alumni
- independent students
- post-secondary education