Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Molina, Danielle K.

Committee Member

Armstrong, Clay

Committee Member

Labot, Myron

Committee Member

Moyen, Eric A.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Higher Education Leadership, Educational Psychology, and Foundations


Despite many theories on student success as well as many resources to help students make the transition from high school to college, many students do not persist in or graduate from college. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide insight into what takes place when students leave P-12 institutions and enter institutions of higher education by using focused narrative inquiry. This study took place at a large research university in the south. The study included 4 participants at various parts of their transition journey. Participants in the study responded to written prompts. Follow up interviews were conducted, and a narrative of each participant’s transition story was constructed. A plot analysis on each participant’s story suggests that students in transition are not only transitioning from P-12 institutions but also between resources intended to aid students in their transition. When employing resources intended to aid students in their transition to college, foregrounding the cultural transition elements should be considered.