Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Sydney M. Parent


College students often enter college academically unprepared, as evidenced by low high school cumulative GPAs or poor SAT scores. In response to this problem, administrators at a 4-year university in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Unites States implemented an intensive, semester-long program to introduce and acclimate conditionally admitted students to the rigors of collegiate life. The purpose of this study was to understand how to assist students in moving from Year 1 to full admission and beyond. In accordance with Bandura's reciprocal causation of social cognitive theory model, the research questions centered on conditionally admitted students' descriptions of their experiences with intensive, semester-long program participation. The qualitative case study used data collected from 10 semistructured interviews with conditional admission program student participants. Data analysis consisted of initial coding, axial coding, and iterative recategorization to identify the key findings. Among the findings were that the study site lacked strong faculty-student engagement and that students had mixed feelings regarding the seminar course being helpful. However, they found the university environment conducive to learning, leading them to stay. A white paper provided potential solutions to administrators, including increased faculty-student engagement and more meaningful required seminars for first-year conditionally admitted students. This study and the subsequent project may create positive social change by expanding degree achievement for underprepared, conditionally admitted college students, which thus increases opportunities for upward social mobility.