Using causal-comparative research methodology, this study examined the effectiveness of higher education PK-12 principal preparation programs. Forty-nine graduate students in three principal preparation levels were surveyed about their perceptions of their preparedness on success factors needed to be a principal and the qualities of an effective leadership program. Results of one-way analyses of variances indicated nine success items were statistically significant differences with moderate effect sizes. Of the nine items, six were associated with principal success factors and three were associated with the qualities of an effective leadership program. The overall ratings suggested that students in all levels of the program felt prepared to take on the role of a school administrator; however, students were least confident in their preparedness to monitor and assess the implementation of adopted curriculum and monitor and support the teaching of literacy and numeracy skills. The implications and recommendations for future research are also discussed.