Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



Wayt, Lindsay K. (2012). "The Impact of Students’ Academic and Social Relationships on College Student Persistence." MA Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Education Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Barbara LaCost. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Lindsay Wayt


The purpose of this research study was to determine the connection between students’ relationships and their choice to persist at a post-secondary institution. Although other literature has centered around why students chose to leave an institution or the importance of student involvement and engagement, this study focused on who is most influential in encouraging students to work toward their degree attainment. The study includes results of the influence of peers, family, college faculty, and college student affairs staff on student persistence decisions. This research sought to make a contribution to the literature on retention and attrition issues at colleges and universities. Findings from the research study demonstrated that students who are persisting through college tend to have positive relational influences on their persistence decisions and also have had positive college experiences and interactions with both their social and academic social relational groups. Findings showed that overall students had positive interactions with both social and academic relational groups both on and off campus that influenced their decisions to persist in college. However, findings also showed that relationships that were more socially associated, such as those with family and friends, had a stronger influence on students’ persistence choices than did students’ relationships that were more academically associated, such as those with classmates, faculty, and student affairs staff. In other words, students’ human relationships over which the university had the least amount of control are the ones that students believe have the greatest influence over their success in college.

Adviser: Barbara LaCost