As a component of the evaluation for a program designed to enhance recruitment and retention of disadvantaged nursing students, qualitative interviews were conducted with a sample of 20 baccalaureate nursing students at the end of their freshman year. Students were asked to describe positive aspects of their academic and nonacademic experiences as well as problems that were experienced, with recommendations for resolving these problems. Positive aspects of the freshman experience that were identified included academic, social, familial, and financial support. Problems cited were related to two categories of factors, external and internal. Problems related to external factors included excessive academic loads, course-specific problems such as with the sciences, large class size, faculty inattentiveness, racial tensions, dorm/roommate problems, and parking or commuting time. Problems related to internal factors included poor study habits, loneliness, homesickness, family conflicts, and difficulties with peer relationships. The findings can be used by nursing faculty to determine the extent to which programs address students' perceived needs and to identify innovative retention strategies that would enhance students' perceptions of their college experience. © 1992.