Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Susan Marine


Commuter students continue to face a number of challenges when it comes to building social connections with their peers (Krause, 2007). Despite the number of programs targeted towards first-year college students, few programs are adequately prepared to address the needs and concerns of the commuter student population. In an effort to produce greater learning and development outcomes among Commuter Advisors (CAs) and their protégés (first-year commuter students), the Commuter Advisor Program at Merrimack College will provide seasoned commuter students with the opportunity to receive the training and guidance necessary to become strong mentors to the first-year commuter student population. According to Rendón’s (1994) Validation Theory, validation is crucial early in the college experience to ensure students are able to adapt into their new environment. By marketing leadership and co-curricular opportunities specifically for commuter students, commuter students are able to thrive in an environment that recognizes their needs and strengths. As a result, CAs will work closely with the Office of Student Involvement and Office of Residence Life to develop and implement a variety of programming initiatives designed to acclimate first-year commuter students into the Merrimack College community.