Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Suha Tamim


The first year of college is a time of challenging transition for many. Students are adapting to a new way of learning as well as developing as adults. Using a mixed methods design, this action research study aimed to provide insight into the student experience for academically at-risk first-year students in a health professions program at a mid-size university in New England. Quantitative data showed that most students’ academic performance met or exceeded the minimum requirement for their major with support from their advisor through this intervention. Further, quantitative data showed that student development did occur for participants. Qualitative data allowed for a deeper understanding of the participants’ experience. Through student reflection activities, it was evident that executive functioning skill development, relationship building, and self-awareness are important components of personal development and academic achievement. An action plan was developed to suggest steps for moving forward following this study. Additional research is needed to understand the long-term effects of this intervention. Further, a deeper investigation into academic advisor training and development can improve the understanding of the impact of academic advisors on student success.


© 2023, Molly Ellen Higbie