College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs Poster Presentations


College Adaptation among Traditional and Non-traditional College Students

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Mary Pritchard


Although research has established several factors related to college adjustment in traditional college students (e.g., self-esteem, perfectionism, family environment), few studies have examined whether these factors also relate to college adjustment in non-traditional students. The present study examined whether the factors related to academic and emotional adjustment to college differed between traditional and nontraditional college students. Three hundred thirteen college students (78% traditional; 22% non-traditional) completed the almost perfect scale revised, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire, and the family environment scale. Non-traditional college students displayed significantly greater academic and emotional adjustment to college than did traditional college students. Academic adjustment was related to self-esteem in both groups; in addition, perfectionism related to academic adjustment in traditional students. Emotional adjustment related to self-esteem and independence in both groups; in addition, emotional adjustment related to achievement motivation and organizational skills in non-traditional students and discrepancy between self and ideal in traditional students. College administrators may wish to emphasize different factors for these two groups when discussing adaptation to college during orientation sessions.

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