Journal of college student development

The Journal of College Student Development (JCSD) is one of the world’s leading journals on higher education. Subscribers include members of ACPA, individuals subscribed through Johns Hopkins University Press, and academic libraries. JCSD is included in numerous research databases including the Social Science Citation Index, where JCSD is one of only five U.S. and international higher education journals indexed.


Charles L. Lewis served as the first editor of JCSD (then known as the Journal of College Student Personnel) from 1959 through 1964. During its history, JCSD has been led by eleven editors. 

JCSD receives over 500 full-length manuscript submissions per year.  Our acceptance rate is around 10%. JCSD receives national and international manuscript submissions from a wide range of academic fields including student affairs, higher education, sociology, psychology, social work, nursing, business administration, and health sciences.

Submissions to the Journal must be masked to facilitate blind review (please refer to the Submissions link and the Guidelines for Authors) and are reviewed by at least two Editorial Board members and the Editor. Approximately 50 Editorial Board members with extensive scholarly expertise and experience in a number of fields review manuscripts for JCSD. Board members are chosen for three-year terms through a nomination and application process (please refer to the Editorial Board link). The ACPA Governing Board selects the JCSD Editor via a nomination and application process.

Vasti Torres, Editor
Journal of College Student Development

submission information

Manuscript Types

The Journal of College Student Development welcomes three formats of submissions:

  • Feature Articles concern student development, professional development, professional issues and administrative concerns in higher education, and creative programs to improve student services and student success. Authors may focus on recent original research, replication of research, reviews of research, graduate education in student affairs, or essays on theoretical, organizational, and professional issues. We value studies using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.
        • International Feature Articles have similar concerns as feature articles within an international context. In keeping with the international scope of ACPA-College Student Educators International, the Journal of College Student Development welcomes manuscripts that report scholarship on international issues related to college students, student development, and student affairs and services in postsecondary or tertiary education. Such manuscripts might describe research occurring outside the US, such as studies of student development or emerging issues in student services administration in one or more countries. We particularly invite submissions that are scholarly in nature (i.e., having a theoretical base and sound empirical methods), but will also consider submissions that describe best practices in student development outside the US, provided that these submissions contribute new knowledge to the literature. Country-specific and comparative (i.e., comparing an issue in two or more nations) topics are welcome. We recommend that authors select “international” as one of the classifications.
  • Research in Briefs report meaningful research that does not require a full-length manuscript. Articles should present research about analytical tools that may be helpful to researchers or consumers of research in understanding student services, student development, and the student affairs profession. These articles can also include topics such as instrument development, methodological considerations, and campus interventions. Research focused on specific campus interventions and research that examines the student affairs profession (e.g., regarding training, administration) are also typically considered for this section. The criteria for review are similar to those used in the evaluation of feature articles.

  • Translational Education Research (TER) section focuses on creating a platform for scholars and practitioners to engage in dialogue that seeks to enhance the loop between scholarship and practice. To be an informed practitioner, approaches to problems must be grounded in research in addition to personal experience; to be an informed researcher, one must have an understanding of the feasibility and practicality of research implications. The goal of this section is to invite scholars and practitioners into conversations about critical, pressing issues affecting student affairs and higher education. By using existing research and theory, we hope to translate that information into a format useful to student affairs practitioners and policy makers. Rather than focusing on a particular problem, this section of the journal seeks to engage readers with the broader issues that affects postsecondary education. Research for the public good requires that the topic be grounded in research and the major points be synthesized to include all sides of an issue. It is hoped that these pieces will be co-authored by researchers and practitioners.

While we do publish book reviews, we do not accept any unsolicited reviews. Book reviews are done by invitation only.

No Fees

We do not require any fees from authors for submissions or publication of manuscripts. All manuscripts undergo a masked review process.

Preparing your Manuscript

Before submitting, we encourage authors to read past articles of JCSD to understand better the types of submissions we accept. 

We handle all manuscript submissions and reviews through our web-based Editorial Manager™ (EM) system. JCSD‘s EM web page may be accessed here. Authors submit manuscripts and track progress through all stages of the review process.

Never submit manuscripts under consideration by another publication. The corresponding author must affirm the non-duplication of submission in the cover letter.

Unless noted differently below, follow the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for reference style and general guidelines. We follow the 7th Edition of the APA Manual. For those authors accustomed to the APA 6th Edition manual, we recommend learning about changes between the manuals here.

We also encourage authors to consult our JCSD Supplemental Guide for Bias-Free Writing here.

Page Limits

Feature Articles should not exceed 30 pages total, including references, tables, and figures.

Research in Brief submissions should not exceed 9 pages total, including references, tables, and figures.

Translational Education Research submissions should not exceed 5 pages, including references, tables, and figures.

Abstracts and cover pages are not included in the overall word count. All pages must be in 12-point Times New Roman font.

Required Components

You are required to submit at least two documents to the Editorial Manager system.

Title Page file. Place the title, the names of the authors, their professional titles, and their institutional affiliations in one file. Include the contact information for the corresponding author and a phone number for the editor if there is a follow-up question not best suited for email. This file will be separate from the manuscript for the review. We recommend the following format:

  1. List authors’ full names, on separate lines, no degrees or titles. Then complete for each author: [Name] is [position] of [department] at [institution]. or: [Name] is [position] at [organization] in [city, state].
  2. Then for the contact author: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to [Name], [mailing address]; [email address]. Either address is optional; include at least one.

Manuscript file. Your manuscript file should have the title and abstract on the first page. Abstracts should be located below the title. Abstracts should clearly describe the primary intent and outcome of the manuscript. Abstracts should be between 100 – 200 words total. Follow APA 7th edition guidelines for headings (Section 2.9).

We do not require abstracts for Research in Brief submissions.

We recommend authors upload tables and figures in a separate document from the manuscript file. Include only essential data in tables and combine tables whenever possible. In the manuscript file, authors should include [INSERT TABLE/FIGURE # HERE] where appropriate. The final placement is at the discretion of the layout editor.

Figures should be generated as a high resolution (300 dpi), black and white (no color, avoid grayscale) graphic image suitable for publication and saved as a separate image file in a standard format, such as (in this order of preference): Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Tagged Image File (TIF), or bitmap (BMP) file. All text in a figure should be set with a sans serif font (Arial, Helvetica, Swiss). Include the figure number, title, and any additional text in the manuscript document, but not in the image; and name the file to associate it with the caption text. Submit each figure as an individual file with its caption to include with the submitted manuscript.

Manuscript Formatting

Manuscripts must be clear, concise, and engaging with a well-organized development of ideas. All submissions should have an 8.5×11″ layout with 1-inch margins, be double-spaced (including references), use 12-point Times New Roman font, and with page numbers in the top right corner. Please make sure to indent paragraphs. Block quotations of 40 words or more should be double-spaced.

On your title page, please include a word count for your paper.

Lengthy quotations (a total of 300 or more words from one source) require written permission from the copyright holder for reproduction. The adaptation of tables and figures also requires such approval. The author is responsible for securing such authorization. A copy of the publisher’s written permission must be provided to the JCSD editor immediately upon acceptance of the article for publication.

Masking Your Manuscript

Manuscripts sent out for review are processed through a masked review system, where authors and reviewers do not know one another. To facilitate this process, we ask authors to mask their manuscripts appropriately, meaning the submission does not contain clues to the identity of the author(s) or institutional affiliation(s) outside of the title page. The manuscript title should not be one that connects the author to their previous work; a Google search will help you identify potential links between your proposed title and past works. Authors should also appropriate mask references and citations in the manuscript. The following are examples of citations that should be masked:

  • Self-citation that are “in press” or “under review”
    • Example: Torres (in press)
    • Should be: Author (in press)
  • Self-referential citations that reveal author identity
    • Example: In my own work, I have found that authors appropriately mask their submissions more often than not (Liddell, 2019).
    • Should be rephrased so the self-referential component is removed: Liddell (2019) found that authors appropriately mask their submissions more often than not. 
  • Institution Name (most often the case in the methods section)
    • Example: We conducted the study at the University of Iowa.
    • Study sites could be described using institutional characteristics without an institutional pseudonym: We conducted the study at a large, Midwestern university.
    • Study sites could also be given an institutional pseudonym: We conducted the study at State University, a large university located in the Midwestern United States.
  • References to institution-specific documents
    • Please mask these as Institutional Document Masked for Review.

When adding masked citations to your reference list, please make sure to placed masked citations in alphabetical order per their masked version. For instance, a masked citation in-text of Author (2019) or Author (in press) should appear with the other A’s in the reference list, not in the place where it should be when unmasked. If your manuscript is selected for publication, these components will get corrected at the copyright and acceptance phase.  

Differently than other journals, however, we ask authors who cite their own work to leave those citations in the manuscript, so long as they are not self-referential. We believe masked citations may actually point to the identity of the author in the review process, rather than protect it. Authors should use their best judgment in this process while knowing the Publication Coordinator will complete an initial standards check for these issues.

Finally, please make sure to not include any institutional proxy links in your reference list. Often, these links are not necessary for APA citational purposes and reveal one or more authors’ institutional affiliation. Authors should ensure that none of their links reveal any of the authors’ institutional locations.

Submitting your Manuscript

The Editorial Manager system takes authors through a step-by-step process to submit their manuscripts. All corresponding authors will need a profile through Editorial Manager for JCSD.

Editorial Manager link:

To preview your files before submission, you will also need Adobe Reader. We suggest downloading and installing it before your submission, if not already installed on your device. You can download Adobe Reader for free at

Step-by-Step Instructions

To submit your manuscript:

  1. Click “Submit New Manuscript”
  2. Select the Article Type: Feature Article, Research in Brief, or Translational Education Research (TER)
  3. Attach the required files. Please remove any indicator of either author(s) or institution(s) in the file names. For JCSD, the following files should be uploaded separately:
    • A cover sheet with author information (required)
    • A masked version of your manuscript (required)
    • A cover letter
    • Figures, tables, and/or graphs
  4. Select Region of Origin. If there are multiple authors, select the region of the corresponding author.
  5. Add classifications for your manuscript. You must select a minimum of 1 but can select up to 5. Please select both content classifications and methods classifications. For methods classifications, select specific classifications. Do not choose just the overall method classification (the bolded classifications). Click the “+” sign to select appropriate classifications. If your method is not listed, please select “other quantitative/qualitative method” option.
  6. On the next screen, please indicate any opposed reviewers. If none, please click “Proceed.”
  7. Please confirm the manuscript is not under review with another publication. If this manuscript is being submitted for a special issue of the journal, please indicate so in the other text box.
  8. On the next screen, please insert the manuscript title, abstract, and authors.
    • For your title, make sure to submit one that does not link you back to the manuscript. We recommend doing a Google search of your manuscript title and seeing if the first page of hits comes back with a link to you or your previous work.
  9. When you click “Build PDF for Approval,” make sure to wait for the system to build the PDF file for your review. Once it has, open it to ensure the files uploaded correctly and are ready for initial standards check by the Publication Coordinator. Only after you approve the submission will it send to the journal office.

If you have any difficulty access or using Editorial Manager, please contact the Publication Coordinator at [email protected].


JCSD and its editors believe inclusion is how we unleash the power of diversity. We also believe the submission process to journals can be a daunting and confusing process. However, the submission process at JCSD should also be a learning process. This is why we encourage scholars with historically oppressed identities, first-generation scholars, and non-tenured faculty members to reach out to us individually to discuss feedback and rejection decisions. This statement was created because we have collectively noticed a disproportionate amount of cisgender white men and tenured faculty members reaching out to us for support compared to other identity groups.
Book Review Guidelines

The Journal of College Student Development seeks to keep its readers apprised of new books related to student development and professional practice in college student affairs. As a means to that end, books that are related to student development theory and student affairs practice, research on college students or higher education environments, and issues and practices in higher education germane to the student affairs profession are accepted for consideration for review.  (Psychological instruments and computer programs are not currently being accepted for review.) Three kinds of reviews are provided: (1) summary book reviews, (2) critical essays, and (3) book notices.

Reviewers are solicited by the associate editor. Unsolicited reviews are not accepted by JCSD. Invitations to review and selection of reviewers and decisions about whether to review a work or to publish a reviewer’s manuscript are made solely at the discretion of the editors

Summary Reviews

Summary reviews are intended to inform readers about works of interest to student affairs practitioners, preparation program faculty, and researchers. These 750-to-1,000-word reviews briefly and objectively describe the contents and the author’s/editor’s stated objectives. (If it is an edited work, the authors and the content of each chapter are identified.) The review should also include:

* evaluations of how well the author/editor accomplished his or her stated purposes;

* references to other works that have treated similar subject matter;

* how this work differs from previous works;

* the relative quality or contribution of the work to the field.


Book Review Essays

Critical essays are intended for major works in the field. Textbooks and comprehensive or extended treatments of subjects of importance to the field-such as, student subcultures, organizations, subpopulations, or environments; professional practice issues; intervention strategies and techniques; data-based research studies; and theoretical expositions. Critical essays are limited to between 1,200 and 1,800 words. Works of a controversial nature or of major significance to the field may receive more than one review.

Essays should:

  • identify the purpose(s) of the work stated by the author(s)/editor(s)
  • provide an objective description or summary of the contents
  • place the work in the historical and/or theoretical context of previous works and/or general practices in the field
  • point out theoretical assumptions, presuppositions, significant factual errors, and evidence of bias
  • identify strengths and weaknesses in areas such as:
    • topic coverage (originality, depth, and sophistication); logic; organizational structure; theoretical foundations; research methodology, and/or scholarship
    • writing style and clarity
    • potential uses or practical implications;
  • succinctly present the reviewer’s evaluation of the work’s worth, potential impact on practice, professional preparation, or research methods, and overall contribution to the field.

Reviewers may also present their evaluation of what is needed in the field that this work failed to provide and make proposals for further research or theoretical exposition.

Book Notices

These are short summaries of the contents of books that are of interest to the field, but that are not directly focused on student affairs. The Associate Editor writes these short (about 100 words) descriptions of the works with an evaluation of the contents.

Requests for Review

To request a review of a book, send one copy of the book to:

Dr. Sherry K. Watt , Professor, Higher Education & Student Affairs Program

Associate Editor, Journal of College Student Development

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

The University of Iowa, College of Education

N485 Lindquist Center

Iowa City, IA 52242

Email: [email protected]


Because of space limitations in the Journal, not all materials will be reviewed. Materials submitted for review will not be returned.

additional resources

Meet the leadership

Dr. Vasti Torres
Indiana University

Dr. Vasti Torres is excited to return to working on the Journal of College Student Development editorial team, as she was Associate Editor of the publication from 2008-2015. Vasti is also an ACPA Past President (2007-2008) and was the first Latina to be elected to the role of president in any national student affairs association. She is a prior recipient of the ACPA Contribution to Knowledge Award, ACPA Foundation Diamond Honoree, and a previous Senior Scholar in the Association.

Dr. Torres serves as a faculty member in the School of Education at Indiana University and is the Vice President for the Postsecondary Division (Division J) of the American Educational Research Association. As a scholar, her research focuses broadly on the success of underrepresented students in higher education and she is known for her work on how the identity development of Latinx students can influence their college experience.

Dr. Jay Garvey
Executive Associate Editor and Research in Brief
University of Vermont

Dr. Jason C. Garvey is the Friedman-Hipps Green and Gold Professor of Education and Program Coordinator for the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration Program at the University of Vermont. Jay identifies as a quantitative queer, navigating the borders of postpositivistic survey design, quantitative methods and critical/poststructural queerness. Jay’s research examines student affairs and college classroom contexts primarily using quantitative methods, with particular attention to uplifting queer and trans collegians. His approach to scholarship and professional practice is rooted in positive affect and love, recognizing the grounding and uplifting role of emotions and relationships in higher education.

Dr. Ebelia Hernandez
Associate Editor for International 
Rutgers University

Ebelia Hernández is an Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology department at Rutgers University. Her areas of research include examining the interconnections between Latinx student engagement and development, and the use of critical theories in research. Dr. Hernández has published in the areas of student development, history of Latinx student activism, student engagement, and the use of Critical Race Theory in research design and theory development. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University.

Dr. Sherry K. Watt
Associate Editor for Book Reviews
University of Iowa

Sherry K. Watt is a Professor in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the University of Iowa in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies. Dr. Watt has been at the University of Iowa since 2000 and previously she worked as an assistant professor in Student Affairs at Radford University. Dr. Watt is the author and editor of Designing Transformative Multicultural Initiatives: Theoretical Foundations, Practical Applications and Facilitator Considerations (2015). This book includes a rearticulation of the 2007 Privileged Identity Exploration (PIE) Model. This area of research explores various reactions people have to difficult dialogues related to social issues. Dr. Watt has over 25 years of experience in designing and leading educational experiences that involve strategies to engage participants in dialogue that is meaningful, passionate, and self-awakening.

Larry Locke
Publication Coordinator
Indiana University

Larry Locke will begin his first-year in the Higher Education Ph.D. program at Indiana University this fall. For the past nine years, Larry has been a full-time generalist practitioner working in or supervising nine functional areas at a variety of institution types. Most recently he served as Interim Assistant Director of the Prevention, Outreach, and Education Department at Michigan State University.


ACPA members enjoy complimentary digital access to the Journal of College Student Development through the ACPA Member Portal. Members can choose to receive printed copies of the journal for an additional $21 per year. For assistance in updating your membership record, please contact [email protected].
Non-members & institutions may choose to subscribe directly through Johns Hopkins University Press. For current subscription rates, please click here.
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