Murray State Theses and Dissertations



The study sought to understand what caused, or is causing, Murray State University Honors College students to become successful in post-secondary education. The researcher chose to extend the findings of previous research beyond the freshmen year and focus exclusively on what influences persistence until graduation for second, third, or fourth year students. While research that influences graduation is not a new idea, emphasis on influential factors that affect upper-level college students remains relatively unexplored. The whole student, consisting of domains that consider social integration, academic integration, intrinsic motivation, and key interactions that intermingle throughout the collegiate journey, were taken into consideration to discover what has prepared these students for cumulative integration to occur. The study provided a qualitative view of how Honors College students at MSU perceive they have cumulatively integrated into their environment using observations, a focus group, and individual interviews as primary data collection methodologies. The results were transcribed and coded to reveal three dominant domains; community, preparatory experiences, and self-discovery. Findings help to advance research in the area of student success by viewing the whole student and the cumulative integration beyond the freshmen level.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

Integration, Student Success, Completion

Dissertation Committee Chair

Ben Littlepage

Committee Member

Steve Cox

Committee Member

Landon Clark

Committee Member

Randal Wilson

Document Type


Included in

Education Commons