Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Melissa Dobosh, Honors Thesis Advisor, Communication Studies


Dropouts—Prevention; Universities and colleges; Low-income students;


The retention of disadvantaged students, specifically low-income or first-generation students, during the time between high school graduation and the first day of the college semester is lower than that of other student populations. Retention at institutions of higher education is defined as the percentage of students who enroll and remain at an institution throughout their tenure (Crosling, Thomas, & Heagney, 2008). To succeed as educational institutions colleges and universities must retain students. In recent years, retention has become an increasingly hot button issue for institutions across the nation. Connected to this issue is the phenomenon of “summer melt.” Summer melt describes the number of students who have planned and committed to come to an institution but who do not arrive on the first day of the semester (Castleman & Page, 2014a). Summer melt disproportionately affects particular student groups and is one example of students not being retained. The summer before college is a period of socialization when new students learn about, understand, and accept relevant university information and responsibilities. Students are moving from the “out” group where they are not part of the institution, to the “in” group where they become full members of educational institutions.

Year of Submission



Department of Communication Studies

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (51 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download