Universities and colleges constantly face a costly problem: low student retention rates. One potential solution to low student retention is a personality-tailored e-mail intervention. The researcher tested this idea with a sample of 59 first-year students from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Participants took a personality assessment in order to measure their personality trait of sociability. Then participants were split into an experimental group and a control group based on a matched-sample paradigm that ensured sociability was not significantly different between the two groups. Participants in the experimental group received four different intervention e-mails throughout the course of the 2015 fall semester. The e-mails informed them about social events occurring on campus (i.e. football games, diversity events, and concerts) over the course of a two-week period. Four different academic outcomes were measured: GPA, course completion rates, course withdrawals, and fall-2015-to-spring-2016 retention rates. Additionally, Recognized Student Organization (RSO) membership was measured. The results demonstrated that sociability-tailored e-mail interventions have no association with course completion, course withdrawals, and retention. The results also demonstrated that sociability-tailored e-mail interventions have a negative association with GPA and RSO membership. Theoretical and practical implications for studying personality-tailored e-mail interventions and their effect on academic outcomes are discussed.
Kwang Woo Park
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Heffernon, J. K. (2016). Intervention E-mails and Retention: How E-mails Tailored to Personality Impact an Undergraduate Student's Decision to Return to School or Not [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/627/
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