Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


University of Northern Iowa--Student housing; Dormitories--Iowa--Cedar Falls; College freshmen--Services for--Iowa--Cedar Falls;


This study examines the effects and benefits of college students residing in a Springboard house community at UNI during one’s entire freshmen year. Springboard house communities are unique to the University of Northern Iowa as they provide a living environment in which first-year students can self-select to participate. However, there is no common class that complements the community. In addition, the RAs do not go through any separate training to learn how to work with the springboard house students, but they do offer programming that is geared towards first-year students. This study investigated the freshmen experience by gathering data regarding grade point average, on-campus recontracting rates, and active involvement, both on-campus activities as well as those within the residence hall house. Based on the data collected, students in Springboard houses earn higher GPAs, tend to return to live on campus at a higher percentage rate and are more involved in campus activities. In addition, students turn to their RA as a resource for many common themes with which freshmen students struggle. The data gathered from both first-year students and resident assistants in Springboard houses shows that there are benefits to living in a Springboard house community at UNI. Based on these facts, this research is relevant as it analyzes the impact of students being placed in a first-year learning environment without any additional components. Through participation in a springboard community, it is theorized that students feel more supported and, in turn become more involved on campus than the traditional college student. Additionally, it is believed that students participating in a Springboard house earn higher GPAs and have greater retention rates for returning to on-campus housing. Additionally, through the interview process and the sharing of stories and information, a greater understanding of the RA role is provided. Overall, the results of this study show that students who participate in springboard house communities have a positive experience that is rewarding to them both academically and socially. The Springboard program provides positive results that impact student participants. Moving forward, further development of the program based on the recommendations in chapter five can continue to benefit students during their first year at UNI.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Michael Waggoner

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 89 pages)



File Format