Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. John Austin

Second Advisor

Dr. Judy Sadler

Third Advisor

Sam King


High attrition rates have become an impetus for colleges and universities to develop programs to help students during the first years of their education. Various services such as supplemental instruction, tutoring, testing, counseling, college success seminars, and remedial help are offered to help students be successful in their university studies. While these services may be offered, encouraging students to voluntarily attend these sessions is a problem. This study was conducted to analyze the effect of prompts on improving the attendance at voluntary content tutoring sessions at a large Midwestern University. The participants were college students enrolled in any course that had corresponding tutoring provided for the class. Approximately 6,320 students were contacted in the academic disciplines of Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Computer Science, Economics, and German. The intervention consisted of visiting all classes whose instructor responded positively to an email request to visit the class. The students in the classes where informed about the tutoring that was offered for their class, given fliers that summarized all of the services provided by the tutoring service, and given the choice to sign up to receive e-mail reminders about the times and dates of the tutoring sessions. The resulting attendance at tutoring sessions showed only a slight increase in the mean number of students in attendance at each tutoring session. A statistically significant difference was found in the mean attendance in the biology and computer science classes. The other six classes had no significant change in mean attendance. The conclusion was made that non-contingent prompts used to increase attendance at voluntary tutoring sessions are not effective in creating a large behavior change.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons