Student success: the effects of a community college first-year course

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Darla J. Twale


Many first-year seminar courses focus on helping students adjust academically and socially to college life with the intent of increasing persistence and ultimately degree completion. While there is evidence in the literature that these courses positively affect persistence and academic success at universities, research is limited in documenting the effectiveness of these courses at community colleges. This research addressed the deficiency in the literature by examining the effects of a first-year seminar or course at one urban community college. Students who were in college for the first time and took an FY course at Midwest Community College between fall 2006 and spring 2008 were randomly selected for this study. These students were matched to first-time students who did not take the course on variables known to impact persistence and academic success and included age, gender, ethnicity, enrollment status, federal aid eligibility, and pre-enrollment academic ability. Chi square analyses revealed no differences in persistence to the next academic term, however there was a statistically significant difference in yearly persistence for all students, especially part-time and underprepared students. Independent samples t tests showed that although mean cumulative GPA's were higher for students who took the FY course, the differences were not statistically significant. Partial correlation holding academic preparedness and enrollment status constant also revealed no statistically significant differences in final grades in specific gatekeeper courses, English Composition and elementary mathematics.


Student adjustment Ohio Dayton Case studies, College freshmen Ohio Dayton Case studies, Community colleges Ohio Dayton Case studies, College dropouts Ohio Dayton Prevention, Community college education; community colleges; education; educational leadership; higher education; higher education administration; student success; first-year courses

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