Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Donna Gibson

Second Advisor

Abigail Conley

Third Advisor

Mary Hermann

Fourth Advisor

Joanne Damminger


The purpose of this research study was to examine the lived experiences of academic advisors with a counseling degree in addressing their role in student success. If student retention rates are not addressed, higher education institutions are at risk of losing students, which is costly to the institution and the student (Himes, 2014). Most college students are in a state of change and need academic advising support to achieve success during a college transition (Tinto, 2012). Academic advisors can assist students in finding the right career for students’ specific strengths. Academic advisors with counseling degrees address advising through the lens of a counselor utilizing counseling theory, techniques and approaches when engaging with students.

This qualitative study utilized Tinto’s (2012) theories of student departure and retention to provide an understanding of how academic advisors perceived their role in student success. A higher education institution must establish conditions within its own system to promote positive student experiences and outcomes (Vianden & Barlow, 2015). The exploration of the lived experiences of academic advisors with counseling degrees aided in further understanding the advisors’ role in student success. A primary research question guided this study. Individual interviews were used to collect data from academic advisors. Academic advisors were prompted to discuss academic advising experiences, the advisors’ role in student success, and information needed to achieve successful advising sessions. Themes emerged relating to developing relationships, personalized advising sessions, and the advisors’ experience with student success initiatives. Tinto (2012) stated that students need individualized academic and social support to properly transition into college. The findings of this study highlighted the experiences of academic advisors with a counseling degree from the counselor education lens coupled with the professional academic advising perspective in supporting progressive academic advising strategies that had a positive impact on student retention.


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