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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Phyllis Hensley

First Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Second Committee Member

Stephen Davis

Third Committee Member

Kathryn Campbell


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of a freshman orientation course on the academic performance and retention of new community college students. This study was designed to obtain quantitative as well as qualitative data. In part one, a survey was distributed to students, who attended Coral College from the fall of 1996 through the fall of 1999, completed Guidance 10 and scored no higher than a level one or a level two on 2 out of 3 of the assessment tests. Survey data was used to frame interview questions for the qualitative part of the study. In part two, 12 students, who completed Guidance 10 and returned a survey, were interviewed to investigate in greater depth how the course did or did not influence them to stay enrolled in college. Interviews were used to give students the opportunity to share their stories and how their experiences in Guidance 10 influenced them to stay enrolled in college. Data from the interviews suggested that a relationship between the course objectives and the respondents' grade point averages does not exist. However, the data from the interviews indicated that there is a relationship between the course objectives and retention. Respondents identified particular aspects of the orientation course that influenced them to stay enrolled in college. Meeting with a counselor, going on a campus tour, learning time management, learning to speak in front of others, and learning about the potential earnings of a college graduate were aspects of the course that influenced students to persist in college. Counselors and faculty are encouraged to continue to recommend this course to new students, and administrators are advised to ensure that there are a sufficient number of sections available for new students trying to enroll in the course. Finally, the institution must make a commitment to retention and investigate various methods to retain students through some type of orientation. Recommendations are made for educators, who can make a difference in their educational institutions and influence change, which will affect the retention of new community college students.




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