First Advisor

Lindsey Wilkinson

Term of Graduation

Summer 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology







Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 50 pages)


This thesis seeks to understand how students who leave college without a degree, or non-completers, experience broad access institutions in an effort to shift our thinking from the student characteristics that predict college dropout to how broad access institutions can better serve students and improve graduation rates. To answer this question, I conducted interviews with former students who had recently attended a broad access institution and left without a degree. Results show that participants expressed internalized views of the traditional college student archetype, which was reinforced though their college experience. Further, participants encountered significant bureaucratic challenges and barriers, and expressed a tension between their lived experience and the messages and signals they received from the institution. Drawing on concepts of sense of belonging, stereotype threat, and Universal Design, this study emphasizes the need for broad access institutions to redesign current processes and practices to support the needs of contemporary undergraduate students.


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