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ERIC Number: ED552967
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 120
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-1018-7
A Qualitative Study: Retention of First-Year Learners in Higher Education
Homer, Gina M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University
This qualitative research study focuses on retention of first-year learners by exploring three variables: academic support, social support, and coping strategies. The research method is grounded theory founded by Glaser, B. and Strauss, A. (1967). The philosophical assumptions of the study are Constructivist and Advocacy/Participatory knowledge claims. The sampling instrumentation is nonrandom and face-to-face interviews, with a non-probability sampling strategy, and purposive sampling method. The study asked five academic advisors three interview questions, and ten first-year learners' twelve interview questions. Many of the challenges learners face during their first year of college could be prevented if supportive retention programs are developed, implemented, and become part of the institutions in-processing of learners. Many undergraduates are permanently leaving school prior to completing their first year. Students report leaving because they are not a good fit for the institution, family, financial, and academic reasons. This study took place at a two-year commuter college located in Atlanta, Georgia. The first-year student population of the host institution is 1,515. The academic advisors were asked three open-ended questions related to first-year students, academic support, social support, and coping strategies. The learner participants were asked twelve open-ended questions related to retention and first-year learners. This study details what retention programs and activities to develop and facilitate based on documented data, participants face-to-face interviews and audio recordings. The implementation of the suggested retention programs will improve learners' academic achievements, social relations, coping techniques and persistence. Retention programs such as first-year pre-college seminars, experiential education, mentoring programs, learning communities, and Common Time are included in this study. Alfred Bandura (1997) self-efficacy taken from the social learning theory behavioral model or the belief in one's own capabilities to successfully complete a set goal is referred to throughout the study. The completion of the study proved that through systematically implementing the retention programs and activities outlined in this study will result in increased first-year learner retention. Coding schematics were utilized to organize, analyze, and interpret the collected data. Qualitative graphic software was employed to assist in reporting the final findings of the study. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia