School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Linda Gable


College persistence, Educational attainment, Motivation, Resilience, Teen pregnancy


Education | Educational Psychology | Other Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to discover the shared experiences of the two percent of women who have obtained a college degree by age 30 after having been a teen mother. Most studies dealing with the issue of teen pregnancy focus on the adverse consequences of becoming a teen mother; however, this study focuses on the success stories. The central research question addressed by this study was: "What were the unique experiences shared by the teen moms who graduated college by age 30 that accounts for their educational success?" This phenomenological study used a questionnaire, surveys, and interviews as methods of data collection. Moustakas' method will be used to analyze data gathered through interviews. All data gathered was triangulated to ensure trustworthiness. Seventeen women answered and completed the questionnaire and surveys, 11 women participated in a one-on-one interview. The findings included four major themes that were common amongst the participants' stories: challenges faced during pregnancy and subsequent attendance at college, resources available during pregnancy and while attending college, turning points experiences by the participants that changed their course, and motivation to continue when so many did not. This study has implications that are far reaching. Government, social and educational institutions can use the results of this study to influence policy aimed at helping teen mothers find the resources available to them that will enable them to continue with their education and increase the 2% who graduate from college by age 30.