The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: M.S.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Michael Mills

Second Advisor

Steven McCullar

Third Advisor

Joseph Melcher

Creative Commons License

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

Keywords and Subject Headings

International students, Background characteristics, Adjustment to college, Student success, SACQ



This quantitative study examined the relationships between international students’ background characteristics, adjustment to college and academic success in the United States. An online survey questionnaire was sent to all graduate and undergraduate degree-seeking international students (935 students) studying in Saint Cloud State University in the spring semester 2016 and 149 (nearly 16%) completed questionnaires were returned. The data was collected using a modified version of Student Adjustment to College Questionnaire developed by Gomez et al. (2014). Independent sample t-test and one-way ANOVA tests were used to study the relationship between students’ background characteristics and five adjustment sub-scales. Multiple and stepwise regression were used to examine the relationship between international students’ academic success and five adjustment sub-scales. The results of the study showed that there were statistically significant relationships between international students’ age, level of education, school of study, region (country of origin), marital status, father’s education, and English language skills with some of the adjustment sub-scales to college. Based on the results of the study it was difficult to find a clear pattern on how the international students’ background characteristics affect their adjustment to college. The results of the study also showed that two adjustment sub-scales significantly predicted students’ success. The results of stepwise regression indicated that 10% of the variance in student success was related to personal-emotional adjustment and social adjustment.



I devote this work to my parents and my family. To my parents who did not have the opportunity to get education due to social and economic injustices in the country, but made it possible for me to pursue my education. It was not possible to achieve this without their sacrifices, dedications and commitments to my education.

To my beloved family: my wife Shokria and my son Muhammad Irfan for their warm support, encouragement and patience during these two years that I was away from home. It was not easy to survive in Afghanistan without the familial support, but they made it.

To the Government of the United States for providing me with this opportunity to peruse my education in the United States through Fulbright scholarship. This was a life changing experience that will affect the rest of my life. Fulbright experience was not only an educational opportunity, but the new life experience for me.

To Dr. Michael Mills, my academic advisor and thesis committee chair for guiding me to accomplish this work. His insightful, prompt, and honest feedback and comments has been a crucial part of my learning process. I also appreciate my thesis committee members, Dr. Steven McCullar and Dr. Joseph Melcher. It has been great to work with and learn from them with such diverse backgrounds. Words cannot express my gratitude for everything they have done in assisting me to obtain this goal.

Finally, I would like to appreciate Dr. Randy Kolb, the Director of Statistical Consulting & Research Center, for his helps on my data collection and data analysis. I also appreciate Dr. David Robinson, professor of statistics at SCSU, for helping me with data analysis. Without their support, this would not have been possible.



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