Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Thomas Kane


attrition, higher education, met expectations, withdrawal, turnover

Subject Categories



The current study examined the effect of college pre-entry expectations in five broad domains (academic, social, personal growth, financial, and positional) on college student attrition. Consistent with the met expectations hypothesis, the discrepancy between pre-entry expectations and realized expectations in these domains were predicted to lead to intentions to quit the university. Moreover, this relationship was only predicted to occur if the expectation was viewed as being important to the student's overall evaluation of the university. Data were collected from 896 students from a medium sized Midwestern University. Student's pre-entry expectations were collected prior to the beginning of the semester, and perceptions of reality and criterion variables were collected at mid-semester. Results indicated that intentions to quit the university are created based on actual experience and value congruence instead of unmet expectations. Additionally, the importance of the expectation did not moderate the relationship between expectations and intentions to quit the university. These findings suggest that pre-entry expectations are motivational in nature; students who had higher initial expectations were more likely to realize those expectations at mid-semester, and therefore were less likely to consider leaving the university.


© Timothy Justin Bartkoski

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