What Makes a Successful Doctoral Student? An Applied Study of Applicants to the Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Leadership (poster 5)
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From its beginnings in 2011 through January of 2015, the Doctoral Program in Interdisciplinary Leadership had roughly 700 applicants. The program accepted approximately 77% of those that applied. While many of these admitted students have successfully completed the program, others have experienced challenges of various kinds, often related to an overall lack of academic preparation in their previous graduate work for the demands of doctoral work at Creighton University. In an effort to improve the selectivity of the admissions process, and ultimately admit students who are well prepared for the rigors of doctoral work at Creighton University, we studied the relationship between a number of applicant characteristics and their likelihood to successfully finish the EdD program. Specifically, we evaluated the predictive value of applicants' undergraduate GPA, master's level GPA, type of master's degree, and professional field on students' likelihood to successfully finish the EdD Program. Quantitatively, we found that undergraduate and graduate GPAs are significant predictors of success in the doctoral program, and that students that held a Master of Arts (rather than an MS or an M.Ed) degree were more likely to successfully finish the EdD Program. We also found that the professional field of the applicant did not express a relationship students' likelihood to finish the program. From these data, the EdD Program Admissions Committee created a new admissions review form and a guidebook for faculty that review admissions files.This project involves the study of factors that may lead prospective students to be successful within a program at Creighton University. As such, it does not specifically examine the attainment of any one learning outcome, but instead sheds light on the potential of applicants to master most, if not all, university and program learning outcomes.