Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Drew Moser

Second Advisor

Scott Gaier

Third Advisor

C. Skip Trudeau


The purpose of this study was to explore the impact that type of residence has on a freshman’s experience, specifically comparing all-freshmen residence halls to comprehensive residence halls. Through phenomenological research, this study explored the common meaning for seventeen students at two universities of their experiences living in a residence hall as freshmen. The following research questions guided this study:

  • Is there an impact a student’s first year experience based on type of on-campus residence?
    • How does an all-freshmen residence hall impact a student’s freshmen year?
    • How does a comprehensive residence hall impact a student’s freshmen year?

Major findings include the role of upperclassmen in a comprehensive hall in giving advice, creating an inclusive space, providing perspective, and being role models. In addition, findings from the all-freshmen hall include the role of a resident assistant in the freshmen experience. Recommendations for practice include providing housing that mixes all class years into residence halls, create more student leadership positions in the residence hall to allow upperclassmen to live with freshmen, and incorporate programming in the halls that encourages upperclassmen and freshmen to interact.