Date of Award



© 2018 Kellie A. Ziemak

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

William Boozang

Second Advisor

Mary Colleen Patterson

Third Advisor

Mark Strickland


This study sought to understand persistence from a student’s perspective. In the past, student success courses were able to provide students with the opportunity to learn the college-readiness skills essential to student persistence. Developmental education reform in Florida has restructured course requirements, and students can now decide if they want to enroll in a student success course. This leaves colleges exploring alternatives to assist students in gaining the skills they need to be successful in college. This study used Tinto’s student integration theory as a conceptual framework to determine if students thought orientation helped them integrate both socially and academically into the institution and if it ultimately influenced their decision to reenroll the next semester. This qualitative case study used semi-structured interviews to learn how students engaged with the various orientation components and understand whether orientation helped students become integrated into the college. Through the interviews, the study found the students’ decision to return the following semester rested on a friendly college environment, access, and the quality of instruction. Orientation was a framework and an introduction to the college environment that ultimately made students feel comfortable using resources, asking questions, and getting involved.


Ed.D. Dissertation