For my dissertation, I was interested in examining the warnings about the preparedness of a new generation of students arriving on college campuses across the United States. For the past 12 years, these students have attended public schools under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the purpose of my study was to investigate the influence these policies have had on students’ academic preparedness and college readiness. The study analyzed data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 to determine the extent to which the learning culture created by No Child Left Behind policies impacted teachers’ and students’ non-cognitive characteristics and college readiness indicators. Research questions were answered using analyses of variance, linear regressions, and a Fisher’s z test. This case study provides a timeline with regard to researching, obtaining, and analyzing secondary data from the National Center of Educational Statistics. The case offers practical advice for developing a strategy to complete a dissertation within a timely manner. In addition, the case provides a discussion regarding unique issues that arise when using secondary data in order to develop concrete solutions that can be implemented in future research studies.