Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version


Document Type



Edelman, L. (2013). The effects of parental involvement on the college student transition: A qualitative study (Master's thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


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: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Richard E. Hoover. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Lauren Edelman


This qualitative research studied the phenomenon of parental involvement in the college transition process and sought to understand if students perceived they were affected, relative to the development of independence and autonomy, by the amount of parental involvement they experienced during this transition. Six traditional college freshmen were interviewed and asked about their relationships with their parents, their parent’s involvement during the college search, application, and transition process, and how they perceived this involvement affected their development of independence and autonomy.

This study explored the effects of parental involvement as students transitioned from high school to college. The study looked at levels and impacts of parental involvement during high school through the college application process through the students' freshman year of college. Specifically, this research explored how students perceived parental involvement influenced their abilities to transition into the college environment and develop independence and autonomy. The research added to literature in the field by investigating the impact of parental involvement on the college transition process and exploring how involvement may affect the “moving in” phase of this transition. By looking at student-parent relationships and parental involvement, student affairs professionals can gain insight as to how to provide programs and services to support students and their parents as they transition through these developmental stages.

This study added to previous research on how students perceive parental involvement affects students’ transition to college. Theories from Chickering and Reisser as well as Schlossberg were applied to help analyze the findings of the study related to how students experienced the transition from high school to college to better understand the development of independence and autonomy. Each of the six participants in this study expressed that they had parental support. Because of this support, these students were able to transition easier into college and were more comfortable taking risks, meeting new people, and experiencing a new environment.

Adviser: Richard E. Hoover