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The Relationship between Graduate Orientation Programs and Satisfaction with Institutional Choice

Carl G Stiles, Johnson & Wales University


This research study evaluated graduate orientation programs offered at private institutions of higher education in a New England state. Matriculated master's degree candidates participated in a survey to determine if participation in graduate orientation influenced first semester satisfaction with their college choice. Supporting the Graduate Student Survey was a brief survey of senior student affairs leaders affirming institutional characteristics, enrollment figures, and academic program offerings. Existing literature linking graduate orientation for master's degree students with satisfaction is limited. This study sought to contribute to the base of research and assist institutions with information and recommendations to influence graduate student satisfaction with institutional choice while providing information on graduate orientation components identified within the literature and research for inclusion in the development of graduate orientation programs. Theoretical frameworks of Maslow (1954), hierarchy of needs, and of Schlossberg, Waters, and Goodman (1995), transition theory, were utilized for the research. Participation, dependent variable, was explored for this study to seek its influence on satisfaction with graduate institutional choice. Secondary predictor variables of residency, age, gender, and enrollment were further explored to assess covariate influence on satisfaction with institutional choice at the graduate level. A quantitative design with a survey instrument was employed in this study. A 78-item survey instrument was administered to first semester master's degree students (N = 135). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Scheffé Post-Hoc Test were conducted on participation and satisfaction. The analysis revealed a significant difference in satisfaction between students who participated in all of orientation and students who did not participate fully. Hierarchical regression analysis was conducted on the covariates. The model revealed that a statistical difference existed to a varying degree in those who attended all of, some of, or none of orientation as it related to satisfaction with institutional choice with gender found to be significant when analyzed. The findings from this study may have ramifications for those planning and implementing policies and activities for graduate student populations, specifically those who seek to improve graduate student satisfaction with college choice, graduate orientation programs, and institutional and alumni affiliation programs for graduate students.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|School administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Stiles, Carl G, "The Relationship between Graduate Orientation Programs and Satisfaction with Institutional Choice" (2012). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3510278.