Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

C. Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Scott Gaier

Third Advisor

Scott Moeschberger


Academic advising is an important part of the college experience but has innate challenges. Much research has been done to try to improve the quality of students’ academic advising experiences, but limited research has focused on student factors that contribute to their experiences. This project sought to discover if certain factors impacted students’ academic advising experiences for better or worse at one institution. The research question guiding the study was “Is there a relationship between students’ academic preparedness, school, gender, class, and ethnicity with their academic advising experiences at a small, private, liberal arts university?” The 2012 NSSE 2.0 Pilot Study, Academic Advising Module served as the dependent variable and Independent Samples T-tests and Analyses of Variances were calculated for the five aforementioned factors. Statistical results indicated that four factors did not strongly correlate to students’ academic advising experiences, positively or negatively. However, students’ ethnicity (White vs. Non-White) did produce a strong statistical correlation between the means (p = .002). A main reason for this may be the number of international students who were part of the sample and the multiple ways in which they were supported at the institution in the study. While contributing to academic advising literature, the study also draws attention to the high value of multiple touch-points on students’ academic advising experiences. The more faculty and staff take time to invest in students’ academic success, the greater those students’ estimation and satisfaction with their advising.