Committee Chair

Tucker, James

Committee Member

Crawford, Elizabeth K.; Ahmadi, Mohammad; Miller, Ted L.


School of Professional Studies


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This mixed-methods study concentrated on students who participated in a 2-day freshman orientation program and registered for courses at a midsize metropolitan 4-year public university located in the southeastern United States. This study examined three cohorts of entering freshmen as they progressed through the course-registration process of freshman orientation and then one full academic year. There was also consideration of the institutional departments involved in the process and their perceptions of the experience. The quantitative portion of this mixed-methods study was based on Bean and Metzner’s (1985) longitudinal tracking system for nontraditional student attrition. Two frameworks were used for the qualitative portion of the study. The first was constructivist grounded theory due to its research of a university process, and how this process may impact various independent departments in the institution. The second portion of the qualitative review was narrative inquiry; the lived experience of the researcher with respect to the preregistration process provided a program evaluation of the process itself. The first research question addressed the combination of student characteristics that best predicted first-year student academic success. Across all academic success markers, female students were more likely to be successful than male students. The second research question asked what combination of the six academic outcome variables best predicted first-year student retention at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). The variables with the most significant impacts were UTC grade point average (GPA), semester earned credits, attempted overall credits, and the completion of preregistration. The third research question considered if the method of first-time course registration was significant in student retention. It was determined that the preregistration process had a positive impact. Finally, the fourth research question was a consideration of the perceived impact of the Academic Interest Questionnaire (AIQ) on administrative processes. Through narrative inquiry, the AIQ was found to have improved over time, and the majority of academic departments have become vested in the process. The narrative findings were supported by interview responses.


Ph. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.




College students; Student registration; Academic achievement; Vocational guidance


Retention; Student success; Higher education; Course registration; Freshman; Freshmen

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xiii, 183 leaves