Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dennis P. Prisk

Second Advisor

Teresa Eagle

Third Advisor

Steve Banks

Fourth Advisor

Joseph Beckett


Student retention is an issue facing higher education administrators that cannot be ignored. Program directors of athletic training education programs (ATEP) must become aware of the factors which influence retention and develop strategies to reduce attrition. Because the majority of attrition occurs during the freshman year, the focus of retention programs should be on the first year of the students’ college experience. To better understand why they persist in undergraduate ATEPs, freshman students (n = 603) were surveyed to determine their level of satisfaction with various aspects of the program as well as whether or not they chose to apply to the program during the spring semester. Of the surveys that were mailed, 347 were returned for a 58% return rate. Significant differences were found at the p < .01 level with regard to their satisfaction with their intellectual integration, social integration, commitment, and clinical education experience. Significant differences between groups were also noted at the p < .01 and p < .05 levels for the students’ college cumulative grade point average (GPA) and their athletic training and science course grades. This study provides sufficient support for the development of retention programs to enhance student satisfaction with the freshman experience in ATEPs and in turn, increase the retention rates as well. Enriched by an evidence-based and coordinated retention program, the freshman experience can be a stimulating and fulfilling transition into college life as an athletic training student.


College dropouts - Prevention.

College freshmen.

Physical education and training.