Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Masha Krsmanovic

Committee Chair School



First-year community college students are a population of immense interest to community college administrators as first-year students encounter unique challenges than can impede them from graduation. Administrators depend on the college’s office of institutional research to gather first-year student experience data so that they can plan and implement programs which might encourage students to reach graduation. Institutional researchers regularly use surveys to ascertain this valuable first-year student data. Unfortunately, first-year students have low response rates to survey requests. Previous studies on improving college students’ survey response rates have focused primarily on students at four-year institutions. This study aims to broaden the existing research on college students’ response rates by assessing the effectiveness of a personalized email on the response rate of first-year community college students. Using a quantitative research design, the study compared the differences in the response rates and demographics of respondents of first-year students who received a personalized email survey invitation with those who received a generic email invitation. The results are important to the work of community college administrators, institutional researchers, and staff who use surveys to obtain information about first-year community college students.