Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Katherine C. Aquino

Third Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther


College completion rate is a major challenge afflicting colleges and universities as well as students in the United States, particularly Hispanic students (Field, 2018). This qualitative case study aimed to investigate how Dominican students perceived their first year of college and how that perception impacted their retention in a community college in the Northeast. Participants included a purposeful sample of fourteen students (four students enrolled fall of 2021 and four students who did not enroll in the spring of 2022, five students from a focus group, and one of the students from the focus group was interviewed for an in-depth one-on-one interview). In addition, two instructors from the SSD Course (New Student Orientation) and two staff members from the First Year Experience Committee were also interviewed to understand the topic being investigated through multiple perspectives. The students were selected from a Freshman Orientation course administered to first-year students called SSD 100, which operated as a learning community. Students self-identified as Dominican by having at least one Dominican parent. Dominican students were described as a first- generation Dominican (individuals who were born in the Dominican Republic (D.R.) or second-generation Dominican (individuals who were born in the United States (U.S.) The researcher conducted virtual semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups. The findings from this study contributed to the gap in the literature on the retention of Dominican students.