Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Neal H. Hutchens

Second Advisor

Donald Cole

Third Advisor

Whitney Webb

Relational Format



Underrepresented student populations are faced with numerous barriers and are often overlooked on many college campuses. The aim of this research was to better understand academic cohorts and if they help reduce some of the barriers faced by African American and first-generation students which can ultimately affect retention and persistence to graduation. In order to gather this information, interviews and surveys were conducted with students once enrolled in the foundations for academic success track (Fastrack) program at the University of Mississippi. Results from the interviews and surveys indicate that while the Fastrack program seemed to support successful social transitions for these underrepresented student populations at the University of Mississippi. The Fastrack Academic Cohort Program was severely lacking in assisting students with their academic integration. From our limited research, we infer that the Fastrack program successfully broke down many of the barriers faced by underrepresented students. However, there are still steps to be taken to further achieve educational equality, particularly in the academic realm for this group of underrepresented students.



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