Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Anthony P. Chiarlitti

Second Supervisor

Dr. Janice Girardi


This phenomenological, qualitative study explored community college graduates' perceptions of their cocurricular involvement and its effect on their academic success and career development through the lens of The City University of New York's Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs (ASAP). Besides the low graduation rates among community college students, the available literature regarding cocurricular involvement and its positive effect on students’ retention is not representative of non-traditional students who attend community colleges. Given ASAP’s success in supporting community college students through graduation by providing students with socialemotional and financial support, this study sought to gain insights into how to improve engagement and retention for community college students. Participants of this study were randomly selected among graduates of the ASAP program from fall 2018 and spring 2019. Pre-interview questionnaires were used to collect demographic data and to select interview participants. The data was collected via in-depth semi-structured interviews and was analyzed by developing codes, categories, and themes. The data revealed eight factors that contributed to the graduate’s academic success and career skill development. These factors are: (a) career readiness, (b) personal development, (c) social integration, (d) advisor mentorship, (e) structured environment, (f) appreciative practices, (g) academic integration, and (h) financial support. The recommendations to stakeholders include student-advisor assignment, outcome-driven cocurricular activities, and structured, supportive environment.

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