A Narrative Inquiry: The Lived Experiences of High School Dropouts Who Returned and Graduated

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2018


Few researchers have addressed the lived experiences of high school dropouts who returned and graduated. The goal of this study was to analyze the lived experiences of individuals who graduated after returning to school. In order to unveil the essence of their experiences, this narrative inquiry focused on what led dropouts back to school and after they returned, what contributed to their resiliency to stay and graduate.Participants for this study were selected from a non-random pool of individuals who met the research criteria. Data collection through semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted to shine light on hidden experiences known only to the participants, which if not shared, might be lost forever (Weiss, 1994). Dense narratives rich with details were explored, which revealed the essence of participants' lived experiences such as loneliness, a lack of empathy from school staff, and lack of value in the academic process. Also, a need for alternatives in coursework, campus options, and graduation paths were implicated from the data.


William Charles Holt

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision