The Impact of a College Anxiety Support Program on Students' Academic Performance and Anxiety

Alisha Williams-McCorvey, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to assess whether Mount Saint Mary College’s Persist, Achieve, Connect, and Thrive Program (PACT) was effective in improving student success and decreasing student anxiety. The study used Kirkpatrick’s Four-Level Educational Evaluation Program Model to design research questions and a focus group interview protocol. The research used a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental design that incorporated an experimental group and a control group. The research explored the relationship between program participation and academic success, measured by 1) grade point average and 2) whether students enrolled in the PACT Program experienced a decrease in social and academic anxiety levels, using their scores on the GAD-7 Scale. It compared retention, course load, and course completion rates between the two groups. The small sample size limited the scope of quantitative analysis; this limitation was balanced with focus groups that added thick, rich, qualitative details to understand the strengths and challenges in the PACT Program. Primary research findings were that PACT students experienced less anxiety and increased grade point average compared to the control group. PACT did not appear to have an impact on student retention, course load, or course completion compared to non-PACT students. Overall, the evidence—both quantitative data and focus group responses—showed that PACT had a meaningful impact on the lives of PACT-enrolled students. PACT participants consistently reported that their involvement in PACT was one of the greatest reasons why they had a reduction in their anxiety level.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration|Education

Recommended Citation

Williams-McCorvey, Alisha, "The Impact of a College Anxiety Support Program on Students' Academic Performance and Anxiety" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13877879.