Finding the path: enrolling in post-secondary studies without a secondary school graduation diploma.




Smith, Andrea J.

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For a distinct portion of Canadian youth, completing a high school diploma with their same-age peers is not a reality. Fortunately, opportunities exist for these individuals to later return to educational institutions to continue their formal education, thereby increasing their job prospects, wages, and quality of life. Barriers faced by these so-called “non-traditional” learners are examined through the data gathered from an anonymous survey and from focus group interviews with students who currently attend a college in western Canada. The purpose of this thesis is to illuminate the experiences and beliefs of “non-traditional” students, including how they were able to enrol in post-secondary education without a high school diploma, what barriers they actually did, or continue to, face, and what strategies and supports have been, or would be, most helpful to them as they navigate the many challenges and transitions to find their path on their educational journey.



post-secondary barriers, post-secondary studies, high school drop-outs, adult learners, non-traditional learners