Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

David A. Spruill

Second Advisor

Rosusan D. Bartee

Third Advisor

Marc Showalter

Relational Format



The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of recent graduates who participated in the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at a medium-size southeastern university. This research used a phenomenological approach, as well as qualitative interviews, to provide a detailed and insightful description about the experiences of the participants in this study. They participated in the McNair program as undergraduate students and completed a bachelor's degree during the academic years of 2009–2010 and 2010–2011. One-hour Skype interviews were conducted with ten participants in the McNair program at a southeastern university. Themes from the explication of the data highlighted the importance of the components provided by the McNair program as well as the assistance of other sources as influential in reaching their academic goals. These themes were: Academic Preparations, Academic Inadequateness, Influence of Family, Church, and Community Systems, Family Interactions, Self-Made Support Systems, Recognition of a Lack of Preparation, Introduction to the McNair Program, McNair Program Experiences, and McNair at the Graduate Level. These themes provide valuable information to this and other McNair programs to evaluate the different components of the programs and to better meet the needs of these students. These themes also indicate the importance of the roles and interactions of school and college counselors, as well as the need for resources that focus on the needs of these students at the secondary and postsecondary level. Further implications for parents and students include community outreach programs and additional education to prepare both parents and students for the college experience.



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