Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Tara Hornor

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Joe Cardot

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Javier Flores


A lack of technically trained, skilled, and educated workforce has become a critical issue in Texas. Furthermore, an educated workforce improves communities and individuals with economic, health, and personal benefits. Community colleges not only provide open-access admissions and low-cost tuition but are specifically aligned with educating the technical and industrial skilled workforce. Although a post-high school education has never been more accessible or necessary for obtaining high-earning jobs, post-high school college enrollment is declining, and conventional reform strategies do not appear to be effecting change. Graduating high school students aspire to attend postsecondary training by applying and being accepted but are not following through to register and attend. Friction points occur between aspiring or applying to college and registering or attending school, leading to a phenomenon known as summer melt. Two identified possible friction points are impostor phenomenon (IP) and college-going knowledge. IP is a belief that one’s successes are not based on one’s abilities and aptitudes but instead on luck or other external forces, and therefore, the individual believes that he or she is a fake, living in fear of being discovered as an imposter. College-going knowledge is the knowledge regarding admissions, financial aid, housing, and other college jargon that makes up the students’ social capital easily transitioning to the higher education environment. IP is well documented in higher education and specifically in first-generation college students. Acting as institutional agents, student services staff may mediate high levels of IP feelings and low levels of college-going knowledge. The findings from this study indicated that many first-time in college students experience moderate to high levels of IP, with the majority frequently having occurrences of IP. There was no significant difference between first-generation college students and continuing-generation college students. Additionally, the college-going knowledge of the vi majority of students was high. New staff had higher expectations of students’ levels of college-going knowledge, while experienced staff held low expectations. Findings from this body of work can be used to influence curriculum development in higher education graduate programs and staff or faculty training on IP and how to assist students in redefining their academic identity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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