Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Daniel (Chip) Turner

Committee Member

Charlie Greco


The main purpose of this applied dissertation was to explore why a new student who is fully admitted to an academic program never proceeds to registration during their first semester. A research study addressing these instances might help college administrators improve conversion rates of admitted students.

The fact that four of the six participants only applied to one university, the researcher believes, validates several prior research studies that directly linked a strong connection between a student’s positive perception of a college and the likelihood that they enroll in it. All of these participants in fact did perceive the university positively; therefore, many of them only applied to it for admission. Several of the participants mentioned that the university’s course offerings, format, and academic fit were among the reasons why they applied to it as well. However, what the study results revealed was not so much about their positive perception of the university or whether or not it was a good academic fit, but more so the lack of communication with the university during the enrollment process, difficulty in navigating the financial aid process, and their common need for a more personalized experience with their financial aid needs that led them to not enroll.

The researcher was able to identify six major participant experiences and topics that were among the most commonly used by each of the participants. They included financial aid, cost, personalized experience, level of ease or difficulty relative to the enrollment, expressed need for more information, and communication. After the researcher identified each of the six most commonly mentioned participant experiences and topics within the enrollment process, three major emerging themes became apparent. The three major emerging themes were: Personalized Experience, Communication, and Financial Aid. The results of this study, such as identifying multiple consistent emerging themes of why an admitted student chooses to not enroll, can add value for any university especially one that is seeking to improve its enrollment management processes, the overall experience of its admitted prospective students within its admission system, and its admitted and enrolled conversion rate.