Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership, Research and Counseling

First Advisor

Becky Ropers-Huilman


This study investigated the relationship between noncognitive factors and achievement of academically successful African American students attending predominantly White institutions of higher education (PWIs). It explored the reasons many African American students at PWIs are able to ensure and continue their academic success. Also, the motivational strategies utilized by some African American students on majority race campuses to overcome obstacles in order to maintain their achievement levels were examined. Collective case study research methods were employed. This was accomplished through the use of eleven African American juniors and seniors who are achieving academically while attending Louisiana State University. To discover themes and patterns, in-depth semistructured interviews, participant-observer sessions, and document reviews were conducted. Analyses of the data revealed that being determined and motivated to succeed were important achievement strategies for all of the Black women and men who participated in this study. In addition, motivation was garnered from their mentors, friends, churches, and other support networks. Moreover, motivation stemmed from a strong self-concept, the thrill of a challenge, love of learning, as well as believing in their abilities to succeed which was united by deep religious convictions. The findings further indicated that the participants strongly feel that becoming involved and participating in predominantly Black organizations can circumvent feelings of alienation and isolation that many African American experience as students while attending predominantly White colleges and universities.