Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a minority bridge program’s (MBP) impact on the academic success of African American undergraduates at a predominantly White institution (PWI). Minority bridge programs (MBP) are transition programs designed to academically and socially prepare students transition points in their educational careers. The goal of the MBP examined in this study was to acclimate minority students to college during the summer between high school and college. Although a few studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of MBPs, those studies are largely descriptive and lack empirical evidence. Drawing from the Model of Student Departure theory and the Model of College Students’ Sense of Belonging theory, this study employed a holistic mixed methods approach to study a MBP at a PWI in the U.S. South to determine if the program’s participants achieve a higher level of academic success and are retained at a higher rate than their non-participant peers. The research questions addressed were directed toward comparing the academic success and retention rates of students of participants versus non-participants. Follow up interviews were conducted with a subset of the participants. This mixed methods study was retrospective in nature as the interview participants were in their senior year of college and the program was held the summer before their freshman fall semester. The study revealed that MBP participants had significantly higher academic success and retention rates than non-participants. Combining the quantitative findings with the qualitative themes that emerged, two meta-inferences were formed: The MBP: (1) fosters a sense of belonging and (2) academically prepares African American students as they transition from high school to college. Results from this study have the potential to inform and provide insight to university administrators and student affairs professionals regarding their decision making processes and practices related to diversity and retention.



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Committee Chair

Alsandor, Danielle



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