Learning Culture: First-Year Student Transition, Institutional Culture, and the Bubble of Trial Adulthood

  • Maximilian T. Schuster

Abstract

The transition from high school to college involves a number of social, cultural, and psychological forces. Research rarely considers the ways in which institutional culture is transmitted to students during students’ first year of college. This qualitative research study fills this gap in the literature by reporting the findings of 62 one-on-one interviews that considered how students made sense of their transition to higher education. Using institutional culture as a framework, data was analyzed through interpretative thematic analysis strategies. Data analysis revealed several key themes that depict the techniques students employed during their first year that enabled their recreation and performance of the peer norms of the university’s culture. Through immersion, trial and error, and mimicking peer behavior, participants navigated what they called the bubble of trial adulthood. This paper draws several implications for practice and conclusions from the data.

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Published
2019-12-03
How to Cite
Schuster , M. T. (2019). Learning Culture: First-Year Student Transition, Institutional Culture, and the Bubble of Trial Adulthood . Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention, 26(2). https://doi.org/10.24926/jcotr.v26i2.2400
Section
Feature Articles