Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Rong Chen, PhD

Committee Member

Santiago Castiello-Gutiérrez, PhD

Committee Member

Ryan Westman, PhD


academic advising, student resilience, academic confidence, first-year, retention, male college students


Institutions of higher education continue to struggle with retaining and graduating students within 6 years, and gender and racial/ethnic disparities are apparent. Only 60% of male and 67% of female students who entered a 4-year institution in 2014 graduated within 6 years (U.S. Department of Education, 2022). In 2022, only 27.6% of Black and 20.9% of Hispanic/Latino Americans between ages 25 and 29 have completed a baccalaureate degree (U.S. Census Bureau, 2023). For those students who entered college in fall 2017, Black students had the lowest first-year retention of 52.1%, and Hispanic/Latino students were not far ahead, with a 59.5% retention rate (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2019). With the increase in diverse student populations, if male/minority male students are not successfully retained, these concerns must be addressed. Academic advising as a supportive and influential factor of resilience building, achievement, and retention is a newly studied phenomenon, and no current research uses a student’s resilience ability in the form of academic confidence as a predictive factor.

Using the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study 2012/2014 (BPS:12/14) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and guided by Tinto’s Theory of Student Departure, this quantitative study explored the relationship between academic advising and male students’ first-year retention and understood whether their resilience and academic confidence are related to their retention. This study also examined whether these relationships varied by race/ethnicity, highlighting Black and Hispanic/Latino males who are retained and complete at lower rates.

The findings indicate that academic advising and high academic confidence positively correlate with male first-year retention. Some races/ethnicities, high socioeconomic status, having Merit Aid and Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, first-year employment, having no major listed, GPAs, sense of belonging, faculty interaction, and control and selectivity of the institution are other factors related to first-year retention of males. Recommendations and implications for policy and future research include the need to focus on academic advising and academic confidence in first-year retention literature, as well as universal/institutional definitions and models of the academic advising role.