Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Kelly D. Bradley

Second Advisor

Dr. Shannon O. Sampson


First year at a university is often a transitional stage for students where they have opportunities to grow and develop in various areas and get familiar with a collegiate environment. Understanding what first-year students expect to navigate and succeed in their first year at the university is crucial. Their expectations reflect how well they prepared for university, affecting their behaviors and eventually influencing their intentions to continue higher education. One of the primary purposes of this study was to design a survey to measure student self-expectations of the first-year college experience (the SE-FYE scale) by applying a structured survey development process and consulting various sources. Moreover, this study aimed to validate and improve the items of the original SE-FYE survey based on examined psychometric properties by applying Rasch measurement analysis. The target population of this study was first-year undergraduate students at a public four-year university in the United States. The sample consisted of 40 first-year students who responded as the pre-group at the beginning of Fall 2022 and 21 first-year students who responded close to the end of the semester as the post-group. The final SE-FYE scale was formed after several modifications, including 22 items to measure five primary variables: student self-expectations for their first year, self-expectations of academic readiness, self-expectations of academic engagement, self-expectations of personal development, and expectations about career preparation. Student persistence and characteristic items were included in the survey. The findings suggested that the final scale items established a reasonable unidimensionality, fit, separation, reliability, and category functionality. Interpretations and suggestions of the results were made from the perspectives of survey development and student success in higher education.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)