Former Foster Youth Application of College Transition Theory

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Tyra Voget



 Past research on the process of transitioning to college has focused on the factors that contribute to a students ability to cope with transition (Goodman, Schlossberg, and Anderson; 2006). However, this past research does not take into account the unique challenges faced by students who have transitioned out of the foster care system. Former foster youth (FFY) have experienced large disruptions in their adolescence that can sometimes include a break in familial relationships, changing schools, and even a loss of independence and freedom when being thrust into government care (Courtney, Teraro, & Bost, 2004; National Conference of State Legislators, 2019; Wolanin, 2015). This paper proposes an application of college transition theory through the lens of the experience of former foster youth. Based on extensive literature review of FFY’s mental health challenges, preparedness for higher education, and relational support, this paper uses the four factors of Schlossberg’s Transition Theory as a theoretical framework to view the college transition process for FFY, while posing a fifth factor that is unique to this student population. 


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Voget, T. (2021). Former Foster Youth Application of College Transition Theory. Journal of the Student Personnel Association at Indiana University, 49. Retrieved from