Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Stacy Wahl


Many first-year college/university students have low retention and success rates which affect their ability to remain in college and attain a career. Despite matriculation practices employed by institutions of higher learning to increase retention, a gap remains in the understanding of the causative factors of retention. The purpose of this study was to determine if academic self-confidence scores of students prior to entry and post- completion of an FYS are reliable predictors of students' ability to progress from the first year to the second year of college. Tinto's (1987) academic retention theory framed the study. A quantitative case study approach including a paired t-test for the dependent sample analysis, point-biserial correlation analysis, and a one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was employed for this study. The findings are that students' self-reported academic confidence does improve postcompletion of the FYS and that these results are not gender specific. The statistical analysis of correlation between posttest self-confidence scores and re-enrollment for second year of college were not statistically significant. The findings of this study contribute to the body of knowledge in current literature on factors of retention, specifically students' self-reported academic confidence. When careful investigations are conducted to determine causative factors that can be used as predictors of student retention, those investigations directly impact positive social change and promote accountability for current matriculation practices employed by institutions of higher learning.