Academic journal article Journal of Higher Education

Certain Adjustment Problems of University Girls

Academic journal article Journal of Higher Education

Certain Adjustment Problems of University Girls

Article excerpt

A girl entering the university is an unknown, but a knowable quantity. An inventory of her experiences, desires, ambitions, habits of thought and action would enable her educational advisers to utilize appropriate techniques for her conditioning. Whatever may be the ultimate objectives of the university, such objectives cannot find realization without an analysis of the students who come to the institution as raw materials, to be transformed into certain finished products. Without this finishing function, the university could not justify its existence. Rightly or wrongly, such results are expected, particularly in a state university.

In order to ascertain those areas of experience in which freshman women found difficulty in adapting themselves to the aims of the university, and in gaining satisfaction of their wishes and wants from the university, and to discover the range of intensity and the extent of the problems of these freshman girls who found it difficult to make the anticipated adjustments, 341 freshman girls were interviewed. These girls told, in their own language, and without any suggestion on the part of the interviewer, their problems of personal adjustments since coming to the university; but in order to assure some semblance of uniformity for comparison later on, the interviewer asked a series of questions touching on certain special areas of university adjustment experiences. The volunteered expressions and the direct answers to the questions were recorded after the student left the room. All the necessary precautions were taken to reproduce their statements as accurately as possible in terms of incidents cited by the students and their reactions to both specific and general situations. After going over these 341 case records, the types of problems elicited were specified. Seeming duplications were eliminated. Out of these types of problems, a questionnaire covering fifty-six areas of experience was prepared which could be answered by yes and no.

The next year, 1932-33, in the fall term, the study was carried a step further. One hundred and seventeen Freshmen for that year, representing both the dormitory and sorority groups, were interviewed first, and then the questionnaire prepared at the end of the previous year was submitted to them. Our purpose in doing this was twofold: to standardize the test, and to see what changes had occurred in the range of maladjustment experience areas of the freshman girls during these two successive years. Those problems which reappeared as constants were tabulated in this study. The rest were dropped out.

Moreover, during 1933, of the initial 341 freshman girls 113 were again interviewed as Juniors in the University, and the questionnaire was also submitted to them. Our purpose was to discover the extent of solution of the problems during their travel from the freshman to the junior years, the emergence of new problems, the techniques of adjustment, and the validity of the initial interview by checking the answers through their answers to the questionnaire.

Some social scientists question the value of the interview technique. With respect to this study, however, we have become confirmed believers in its validity. Out of 113 Juniors only one case admitted that during her freshman interview she did not tell the facts. Our checking of the interviews with the yes-and-no questions brought the same result. Willful misrepresentation happens in less than one per cent of the cases. The administration of the questionnaire as a supplement to interviews was necessary as a double check. The questionnaire not only served to bring to mind problems the girl had faced, but enlightened her as to the breadth of problems which could be included among adjustment problems. Obviously, only those problems which weighed heavily upon the student's mind as needing adjustment were voluntarily expressed to the interviewer. Undoubtedly many of the girls because of established complexes, lack of support, and fear of ridicule, and the like, have concealed some of their major adjustment problems. …

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