Publication Date

Spring 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Counselor Education


Dolores D. Mena


belonging, connectedness, holistic, intersectional, persistance, retention

Subject Areas

Education; Secondary education; Higher education


The purpose of this study was to examine factors that were present in incoming college students that pertained to the connection they had with those in academic support roles, both during high school and upon college entry. The data for this study were collected using a survey containing closed- and open-ended items related to students’ sense of belongingness and connectedness within their high school and college settings. A total of 113 San José State University undergraduate students completed the survey. The findings indicated that students’ attributed their motivating force for succeeding in high school and reaching college to their teachers. In college, students’ sense of belonging was closely connected to their level of involvement in clubs and sports. In addition, the activities students participated in served as a means to connect with their peers. College students felt a sense of belonging if they had friends. The results suggest that development of relationships to others is related to students’ increased sense of belongingness and connectedness within high school and college settings. There is a need to have a space to develop those human connections on high school and college campuses in order to increase students’ educational pursuits.