Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shannon Cleverley-Thompson

Second Supervisor

Joshua Fegley


The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences and perceptions of traditional age male college students that influence their persistence beyond the first year in college. This qualitative study uses Moustakas’ (1994) approach to transcendental or psychological phenomenology. The researcher collected data at two different small, private, 4-year liberal arts institutions situated in New York State. Semi-structured interviews were utilized as the primary source of data collection to capture the experiences and perceptions of traditional age (19 years old) male undergraduates, midway through their second year of college and enrolled full-time. This study uses Schlossberg’s (1981) transition theory as the theoretical framework for examining traditional age male college student persistence. There were four themes that emerged from the data analysis: (a) a constellation of supportive relationships, (b) the pressure to succeed, (c) just get it done, and (d) from transition to transformation, hitting the reset button. The themes in this study align with the four components or 4 S’s of transition theory, which are situation, self, support, and strategies (Schlossberg, Waters, & Goodman, 1995). By fostering mentoring relationships, creating programs specifically for males, and establishing a safety net of academic and social support for young men, executive leaders at institutions of higher education may improve the experience and persistence of traditional age male students beyond the first year of college.

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