Little research has been done in the area of adult Hispanics' transition to college, a complex and challenging process which marks a critical period in their lives. Research suggests adaptation difficulty may cause them to drop out of school usually before completion of the first terms. There is a lack of information in the technical college context, as most studies found are related to community colleges and four-year universities. There is a scarcity of information concerning the most effective practices to serve Hispanics in school, who now represent the second largest school-aged population in the United States. The purpose of this study was to analyze the crucial transition and more specifically, the challenges of adult Hispanic students in technical colleges by listening to adult Hispanic students' voices while they identify the
challenges and the success strategies they employ in technical colleges. The following questions guided this research: (1) What are the main challenges an adult Hispanic student experience during the first terms of technical college? (2) What strategies do adult Hispanic students employ during their college adjustment process to support their academic achievement in technical colleges during the first terms? (3) What programs or processes employed during enrollment and the first terms in a technical college seem to aid in improving college retention? This qualitative case study was conducted at one public technical college with six participants through a total of 28 interviews, including photo-elicitation. A cross-case analysis was conducted using the narrative of each participant. This study found that adult Hispanics students experienced a process of adjustments and challenges upon enrollment. Their success strategies were to persevere, work hard, seek help and collaborate with others, self-motivate themselves, and manage their time carefully. The salient challenges were: (1) academic, (2) work responsibilities, (3) family responsibilities, (4) lack of self-confidence, and (5) lack of support, both financial and familial. Other findings were that students who came from a family with parents who had not completed high school or attended college had less success in college. English language learners had basic interpersonal communications skills but had not mastered academic language, while even native English speakers encountered academic language difficulties. Although
help was provided during the enrollment process, participants who had the longest absence from school experienced problems of not understanding the process.