Date of Award



© 2017 Patriece Campbell

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Marylin Newell

Second Advisor

Laura Bertonazzi

Third Advisor

Christine Gaudry


Over one million international students study at colleges and universities across the U.S. each year. Yet, some international students struggle academically, not because they do not have the cognitive intelligence to excel but they find it difficult to adapt into the American academic culture that is oftentimes significantly different from their own. The study sought to understand the use of integrative programs and services at three select Pennsylvania state institutions and their impact on international students’ successful transition as a part of their campus community. The intent of this study was to understand the complexities that international students face as they try to assimilate and adapt to academic environments in the United States. Phenomenology methodology was used, over 40 international students were surveyed, and interviews were conducted about student use and satisfaction of university programs and services provided during their transitional year.

The study’s findings indicate that: (1) international students believed their initial campus reception and use of transitional services played a part in their satisfaction and ability to integrate; (2) international students are highly dependent on ongoing support from international student support services; and (3) international students have a strong desire to form genuine connections with members of the university community. It was concluded that international students value academic supportive services while studying in the U.S. It is recommended that institutions implement adequate academic, social, and supportive services to ensure adaptation to higher education and improve matriculation among international students.


Ed.D. Dissertation