The purpose of this study was to explore the difference in expectations and experiences of first-time, full-time freshmen over the course of their freshman and sophomore years and whether the difference affected a student's decision to leave the institution. An explanatory mixed method research design was used. Longitudinal survey design allowed the researcher to gather quantitative data through the College Student Expectations Questionnaire and the College Student Experiences Questionnaire to determine the difference between expectations and experiences during students' first and second years of study at Dallas Baptist University. The One-Way between Subjects Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) revealed that students' social and academic expectations and experiences differed over time as they persisted through their second year of college. Students' social expectations prior to entering college were significantly higher than their experiences at the end of their first year of college. By the end of the second year of college, experiences were more in line with expectations. The longer students persisted at the institution, the more socially integrated they became. Academic expectations were low compared to actual experiences in all cases expect for library, where students expected more than they actually experienced. Regardless of whether academic expectations exceeded experiences or not, the longer students persisted at the institution, the more academically integrated they became. Phenomenological research design allowed the researcher to describe the phenomenon of why students choose not to persist at a particular institution of higher learning. Analysis of the interviews revealed that students did not have high expectations of social involvement and they expected to encounter a challenging academic environment. Students departed the institution for a variety of reasons related to financial and cultural issues as well as lack of social and academic integration.
|Advisor:||Kavli, Suzanne E.|
|Commitee:||Ingram, Ozzie, MacMillan, Dan|
|School:||Dallas Baptist University|
|School Location:||United States -- Texas|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Christian universities, College expectations, College experiences, Persistence, Retention, Student departure decisions|
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