The impact of a multifaceted intrusive psychoeducational intervention on underachieving college freshmen

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Interdepartmental Studies

First Committee Member

John Croghan - Committee Chair


This study investigated the effect of a multifaceted theory based intrusive intervention on underachieving freshmen following one semester of full time enrollment in a medium-sized private research university. The hypotheses predicted no differences between experimental and control groups in the following areas at the conclusion of the intervention semester: (a) academic performance; (b) retention into the third semester of study at the same institution; (c) satisfaction with various aspects of the university; (d) self-reported changes in personal needs as they relate to college life. Further hypotheses explored the relationship between academic achievement, retention and level of independence.The subjects, 116 new freshmen who earned under a 2.0 GPA during their first semester, were divided into two equal groups that were matched on several variables. The Academic Dean provided control group subjects with an overview of campus support services available to them and encouragement to improve. Experimental subjects were required by the Dean to participate in all aspects of the multifaceted intervention during the Spring semester, including study skills and time management seminars, monthly meetings with a Faculty Mentor, and weekly small group meetings. Within this group, an attempt was made to manipulate the academic achievement outcome by homogeneously grouping students according to levels of independence, and providing high structure to the low independence group and low structure to the high independence group during their weekly meetings.Independent variables were GPA, retention, student satisfaction and self-reported needs. Instruments used included the California Psychological Inventory, the Student Opinion Survey and the College Student Needs Assessment Survey.When compared to the control group, the experimental group showed a significantly higher improvement in GPA over time; significantly higher GPA's for science majors and commuter students; a trend toward better retention; a significant decline in self-reported needs; and a trend toward more positive opinions about the university. Academic performance correlated positively with independence for experimental group females only, while negative correlations were found for all remaining students.


Education, Educational Psychology; Education, Higher

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