Date of Award

Fall 12-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vicci Lombardi, Ed.D.


attrition, letter of recommendation, Barron’s selectivity rating, calculus, athletic training education, admissions


Making graduate level admission decisions is a complicated process. It is beneficial to the institution, the academic program and the student that every applicant who is admitted into a program is retained and graduates. The utilization of pre-admission factors can be helpful in determining who will succeed and who will not. This study was completed on a cohort of 183 students, spanning nine years. The goal was to identify variables that were predictive of student retention past the first six months of a professional master’s athletic training program (PM). Variables looked at were method of program admission (3+2 program vs. traditional admission process), undergraduate GPA, social science GPA, science GPA, whether the applicant took calculus, Barron’s rating of undergraduate institution, score on letters of recommendation (LORs), score on personal essay, observation hours, race, gender, and age at admission. Chi-square data indicated that there was no difference in student retention when students were admitted through a 3+2 program or through traditional admission processes. Logistic regression results showed that LORs, Barron’s rating, and whether the student took calculus had the greatest predictive ability of student retention. No other variables showed significant findings. These results indicate that GPA is not always the predictor of success it has been known to be. LORs, Barron’s rating, and whether the student took calculus can give insight into elements of the applicant not clearly defined by GPA. Analyzing admission protocol and adjusting it to reflect non-graded elements can benefit graduate programs by improving admission decisions.