Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess


Using qualitative methodology the researcher studied what pivotal moments keep students connected to their institution. The researcher conducted five one-on-one interviews with students of varying backgrounds and involvements and found that participants experienced pivotal moments while attending their mid-sized, mid-western, public university. Participants described pivotal moments through helping others, working towards their future goals, and experiencing leadership opportunities that caused them to grow as a student. Family pressure, people on campus, and having more opportunities in college contributed to the pivotal moments that students experienced. Specifically, this mid-sized, mid-western institution's mentors, faculty members, and the close-knit feeling of campus contributed to the connection participants felt to their university. Recommendations for future research and for Student Affairs Professionals are discussed to continue educating campus members on pivotal moments and their influence on students.