Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

Education Leadership & Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Bylsma

Academic Year



With an increase in the adult student population within higher education, literature continues to show that university academic advisors often lack the proper tools to make the transition for adult students easier. Moreover, the literature reveals that a transition program set in place for adult students can help make the transition into higher education smoother. Adult students endure a multitude of barriers when entering or returning to higher education. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to examine the personal and educational barriers adult students face, while also exploring how academic advisors and universities can be better prepared for adult students to return to higher education. In response to the identified challenges and barriers, the proposed solution involves implementing an academic advisor training as well as implementing a transition program for adult students. The academic advisor training will help advisors feel more confident in advising adult students and give them the tools for effective developmental advising. The transition program will help adult students have a smoother transition into higher education and feel supported earlier on thus fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment.