Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2011


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, NE: May, 2011

Copyright 2011 Amy Fellhoelter


The purpose of this case study was to explore the transition of Summer Bridge Program participants to college, and their persistence beyond their first-year of enrollment at a large research Midwestern University. Participants‘ academic and social transitions were defined through their engagement, involvement, and desire to stay at the institution beyond their first-year.

The University has a summer transition program to assist first-year students with their transition from high school to college. The Summer Bridge program is a three-week, summer, residential, learning community that assists students with their academic and social transition to higher education. Six participants were interviewed in order to describe their individual experiences in the 2009 Summer Bridge program. As first-year students transition to higher education their experiences are unique; therefore, their stories need to be heard in order to understand their transition to college and what encouraged their persistence beyond their first-year.

This study added to previous research on first-year students‘ transitions and persistence beyond their first-year. In particular, Schlossberg‘s Transition Theory, Astin‘s Involvement Theory, research on student engagement, and Tinto‘s Theory of Student Departure were used to relate the findings of this study to the influence the Summer Bridge program had on selected participants. Schlossberg‘s Transition Theory was used to further analyze the findings of this study. The study showed the Summer Bridge program positively influenced the transition of participants to college, and positively influenced their persistence beyond their first-year of enrollment at a large research Midwestern University.

Adviser: Richard E. Hoover