School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Alexandra Barnett


Higher Education, Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression, Adjustment, Transition




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand mental health concerns and the services provided within the college population located at an on-ground campus in the United States. The theories guiding this study were Schlossberg’s transition theory and self-efficacy theory, which play a major role in understanding the concerns and heightened symptoms students faced when transitioning into the college setting. The transcendental phenomenological study focused on gathering data from sophomore students enrolled at Rose College who have recently faced the transition from high school or undergraduate settings. The setting took place virtually due to restrictions and limitations of COVID-19. Student samples were collected by reaching out to students via an institutional research marketing platform where this researcher’s marketing flyer was posted throughout Liberty University’s campus. In addition, two rounds of marking e-mails were sent to students to request participation from sophomore students who endorsed the criteria for experiencing various mental health symptoms while enrolled in the higher education setting, such as: depression, anxiety, and general adjustment symptoms. The data collection process consisted of individual interviews with (N= 10) student participants, a student artifact collection questionnaire, a student letter to self, and a final focus group that allowed a space for all students willing to share their lived experiences regarding their transition into higher education. Research findings indicated students who utilized various support systems and artifacts as an added source of coping, benefitted from successfully finishing their first year of college.

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