Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Health Administration (MHA)


Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

Robert H. Woods

Second Committee Member

Rhonda Montgomery

Third Committee Member

Sarah Tanford

Fourth Committee Member

Chris Heavey

Number of Pages



In the fall of 2012, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) introduced a first year experience course to the undergraduate curriculum. The purpose of the course is to improve the transition from high school to college for first-time, full-time students. The course introduces the students to many aspects of university life including such topics as: academic resources, time management, goal setting, strategic learning, studying and test taking, critical thinking, ethics and career exploration, planning and preparation.

The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the impact that completion of a first year experience course has on the retention rate and grade point average of students in the William F. Harrah's College of Hotel Administration at UNLV. This study was designed to compare grade point averages and retention rates between students who entered the program prior to the creation of the first year experience with students who began the program after its implementation to determine whether there are statistically significant changes. The data evaluated was accessed using the university's data warehouse with the permission and support of UNLV.

Analysis of the student data indicated that there was a positive impact on the retention rate and grade point averages for the students who completed the first year experience course. The study establishes a base line for further research, including substantially longer longitudinal studies within the Hotel College to determine if learning outcomes and retention goals are impacted by the completion of the course.


College freshmen; First Year Experience; Hotel management – Study and teaching (Higher); University of Nevada; Las Vegas


Education | Higher Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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