Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Gaier

Second Advisor

Tim Herrmann

Third Advisor

Skip Trudeau


The purpose of the current study is to discover the impact that early college experiences have on the self-authorship of young entrants. The study explores the experiences of nine young entrants who participated in an early college experience at a faith-based liberal arts university in Minnesota. The study uncovers what aspects of self-authorship develop and those that have little growth. The following question guides the research: “What impact does the college experience have on the self-authorship of young entrants?” Findings include growth in areas of intrapersonal self-authorship: feeling like a traditional freshmen, learning study habits, time, and effort required for college, and making decisions. Growth in parts of interpersonal self-authorship: growing up fast, maturing, and becoming independent, experiencing depth in friendships and community, and support, encouragement and freedom from parents. Changes in epistemological self-authorship: Christian faith informing and forming beliefs, choosing values based on family, background, Bible and faith, and facing challenges. Implications for practice include providing mentoring opportunities for young entrants, developing communities for young students, and maintaining high expectations and high support for young entrants.