First-Year Academically Underprepared Students' Judgments of Their Perceived Academic Advising Needs and Preferences and Their Level of Satisfaction and Intention to Persist at the University of Southern Mississippi

Jennifer Lorean Ducksworth


The purpose of this study was to examine which of the two dominant advising approaches, prescriptive (advisor focused) or developmental (relational focused), academically underprepared students prefer and to determine if this student population's advising relationships, experiences, and activities contribute to their level of satisfaction and their intent to persist at the participating university the following semester. Data were obtained in two ways: Firstly, 310 students enrolled in developmental (099) courses during the fall 2007 semester participated in completion of the Academic Advising Inventory (AAI), Parts I-V. Secondly, from the 310 students surveyed, 25 of these students voluntarily participated in one-to-one interviews which provided additional insight and personal feedback about their advising experience and its significance to their intention to persist at the institution the following semester. Results revealed a statistically significant difference (<.05) between students' perception of their advising experience thus far and their preference of an ideal advisor. Students perceived they received a developmentally advising approach but preferred prescriptive advising as shown by most of the subscale results of the AAI. In addition, although students were only marginally satisfied with their advising experience thus far, the majority of the interviewees expressed that their academic advisors play a significant role in their return to the institution the following semester. This study provided an introduction to the understanding of academically underprepared students' advising preferences but was also helpful to delineate specific ways this institution could place more emphasis and assessment on advising and its advisors to ensure increased satisfaction and persistence of this academically underprepared student group. Implications for future research, policy, and application were discussed.