Highly religious students from fundamentalist or sectarian religious communities face unique challenges in pursuing higher education, directly bearing on their educational opportunities. This study reports findings on ultra-Orthodox Jewish female students in Israel, a group which only recently began pursuing higher education. Using a mixed-methods design, we surveyed 469 students and conducted in-depth interviews with 61 additional students in order to explore their motivations, concerns and challenges in pursuing higher education. The interviews elicited narratives of a ‘Heroine’s Journey’ format, indicating that for many of these women, entering college is perceived as a transformative series of trials. Challenges and management techniques were identified, primarily concerning value and worldview conflicts. A k-means cluster analysis of the survey revealed five distinct profiles of students (practical, driven, anxious, self-realizers and conventional) with differential demographic characteristics. We analyze these results as reflecting ‘multiple traditionalities’ and discuss their implications for supporting highly religious students in higher education.
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© 2018, © 2018 Society for Research into Higher Education.
- academic acculturation
- motivation for learning
- multicultural backgrounds
- religious students
ASJC Scopus subject areas