The senior year experience at Texas A&M University: graduating seniors make meaning of their undergraduate education
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The purpose of this study was to identify if and how graduating seniors make meaning of their undergraduate education by exploring graduating seniors’ understanding of their undergraduate education, as well as what Texas A&M University was providing undergraduates during their senior year to help them synthesize and bring closure to their experiences. The researcher developed a research protocol that relied upon qualitative research data collection through interviews with a purposive sample of graduating seniors. Quantitative data was collected using the graduating student exit survey to provide a baseline of the population of graduating seniors from which the interview participants were selected. The descriptive baseline data were calculated from nearly 3,000 student records, and a total of 20 students were interviewed from this pool. This group included at least one student from each of the nine Texas A&M University academic colleges. The overall gender representation of 60% female and 40% male was nearly par with the graduating senior population, 15% were Black and 15% were Hispanic, 30% were 1st generation, and there was one member of the Corps of Cadets. The baseline data from the graduating senior exit survey were instrumental as a point of reference when examining the participants’ interview responses, particularly given that the interview participants’ survey response averages mirrored the baseline population almost identically. The interviews with these students provided a depth and a dimension of information that was not possible through the survey responses. As they reflected upon their experiences as college students, they described the experience as very positive and exciting. In essence, they loved being “Aggies.” However, the details of their academic experiences were not described as positively, and many were facing the realization that there were more questions at the end than when they began their journeys as undergraduate students.
de Rodriguez, Vanessa Diaz (2007). The senior year experience at Texas A&M University: graduating seniors make meaning of their undergraduate education. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from