Foreclosure students have prematurely committed themselves to academic majors and future careers, but present themselves to academic advisors as very decided. From a developmental theory perspective, foreclosures represent an immature identity status and include students whose failure to explore their personal and vocational identities and achieve a mature identity threatens their academic success. While this category may be new to academic advisors, foreclosures have been the object of extensive psychological and educational research. We review the literature summarizing the identity development and the personality characteristics of foreclosures, and we also review the available evidence concerning the academic performance of these students. We conclude with some recommendations for successfully identifying and advising these students.
Leigh S. Shaffer is professor emeritus of Sociology at West Chester University and is now living in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Jacqueline M. Zalewski is in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, West Chester University.