Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Higher Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Lori A. Wolff

Second Advisor

Whitney Webb

Third Advisor

John Holleman

Relational Format



Abstract: this mixed methods, relational design involved a Qual-Quan sequential exploratory design to determine the relationship between two freshman retention programs, cohort-based and non-cohort based freshman year experience (fye) courses, and the retention of academically less-prepared, non-resident students at a Southern University (SU). Structured interviews with open-ended questions were conducted for the qualitative purposes of this study. Qualitative data was obtained from 31 non-resident, first-year students at SU enrolled in either the non-cohort fye course (n=22) or the cohort-based fye course (n=9). Of the 31 participants, 14 were male, and 17 were female and, at the time of interview, all participants were 18 to19 years of age. Inductive analysis of interview transcripts led to seven themes related to students' responses to questions on enrollment, departure, retention, and the fye course. Quantitative methods were used to process the results from the qualitative data and to provide the context in which the qualitative data is couched. The researcher conducted a Kruskal-Wallis test, Mann-Whitney test, and two-way chi-square tests to determine the relationship between enrollment and retention of non-resident, undergraduate students enrolled in the fye courses, which was juxtaposed with data on non-resident students in the freshman population at SU who are not enrolled in a fye course. Results of this study indicated there is no significant relationship between retention, academic standing, or high school grade point average by type of course (cohort-based, non-cohort based, or no fye). The results did show evidence of a significant relationship between level of academic preparedness for college and first semester grade point average.



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