Page 73 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 71 Summary of Findings for Research Question 2 (RQ2) Research Question 2 (RQ2) What are the perceptions of students who took the Independent Study and Mentorship course (ISM) on their ability to successfully transition from high school to college? RQ2 explored the participants’ perceptions regarding their transition from high school to college and how their experiences in the ISM program may have impacted this transition. Twenge (2014, 2017), the leading expert on recent generational research, noted key differences between students who are currently coming of age, known as iGen, and the two previous generations before them. According to Twenge (2017) and others (Lukianoff & Haidt, 2018; Seemiller & Grace, 2016; Twenge & Park, 2019), iGen students are maturing more slowly. They are engaging in adult activities, such as driving, at older ages. iGen students are also less independent and reporting higher rates of depression, anxiety, and self-harming behaviors (Seemiller & Grace, 2016; Twenge, 2017; Twenge & Park, 2019). Additionally, iGen students greatly value feeling physically and emotionally safe. Regarding this transition from high school to college, the research participants of the current study were asked questions related to their academic transition and their social integration into college life. First, participants reported they learned valuable soft skills that are captured in the theme of professionalism, such as interviewing skills, how to engage in small talk with a person much older than themselves, how to speak confidently and articulately during presentations, how to conduct themselves in a professional setting, and how to create a positive personal brand. Students reported noticing they “had an edge” over peers who did not have these skills and/or a resume prepared for career fairs at college. Participants reported that while their peers were nervous for career fairs and had to frantically prepare, this was not the case for the participants because they had participated in the ISM program. Furthermore, students reported that sometimes they were chosen over older students for internships and jobs because of what they had learned in the ISM program combined with the professional and soft skills they had also acquired. Students reported presentation skills translated to class participation, class presentations, and even to social settings. Also related to their transition from high school to college, research participants reported a great appreciation for the Table 20 Findings Connected to RQ1 Theme Code Increased Opportunities Chosen for highly sought-after scholarships and internships Acceptance to college of choice/eased application process Set apart from others Felt ready for college Mentorship Mentors wrote strong recommendation letters Mentors provided real-world learning experiences Students learned networking skills Table 1 Find gs Connected o RQ1