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"I fit in neither place"
"My dissertation research is on academic jargon and how we have a specific language at the university that creates in-groups and out-groups. Folks who have experience in higher education maybe understand what a major is, they understand what a minor is, they understand what the Fafsa is. For a student who is first generation, typically there’s a bigger learning curve, because these are not typical words that are used in their household or in their community. When we use that jargon in our admissions material or on our websites, it sends an unintended message to a lot of first-generation students: that you aren’t welcome here, because you don’t understand the language we’re using to promote our institution."
Unfamiliar Territory: Meeting the career development needs of first-generation college students
"This article only scratches the surface of FG student research; strategies to help them succeed; and the implications for allowing this hidden minority to continue going unnoticed and unsupported. It highlights a handful of offices where collaboration with career services could occur, but the list of offices and the examples are not exhaustive. In short, it is my hope this article helps raise awareness and motivates our industry to consider this population as one where we can make significant, impactful, immediate, and long-term change." -- The author
The following articles were compiled by Prof Timothy Hampton of UC-Berkeley for his course, The First Generation College Student.
Blue-Collar Scholars?: Mediators and Moderators of University Attrition in First-Generation College Students
Many college entrants’ parents do not have college degrees. These entrants are at high risk for attrition, suggesting it is critical to understand mechanisms of attrition relative to parental education. Moderators and mediators of the effect of parental education on attrition were investigated in 3,290 students over 4 years. Low parental education was a risk for attrition; importantly, college GPAs both moderated and mediated this effect, and ACT scores, scholarships, loans, and full-time work mediated this effect. Drug use, psychological distress, and few reported academic challenges predicted attrition, independent of parental education. These findings might inform interventions to decrease attrition.
Comparing the Determinants of Persistence for First-Generation and Continuing-Generation Students
In this study we examined and compared the determinants of first-to-second-year persistence for 1,167 first-generation and 3,017 continuing-generation students at four-year institutions, using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Survey (Wine, et al., 2002). Because first-generation students are overrepresented in the most disadvantaged racial, income, and gender groups, we used a critical theorist perspective to frame the research problem, guide inquiry, and interpret results.
Cultivating Voice: First-Generation Students Seek Full Academic Citizenship in Multicultural Learning Communities.
Research has shown that first-generation, low-income college students experience both isolation and marginalization, especially during their first-year of college, which impacts their long-term persistence in higher education. In this article, I argue that learning community pedagogy designed with attention to multicultural curricula is one vehicle to address the challenges faced by these college students. Organized around the themes of identity, community, and agency, an interdisciplinary Multicultural Learning Voices Community (MLVC) was created at a large, public midwestern research university to provide TRiO students with challenging academic coursework that would connect with their lived experience and help them build bridges of social and academic integration during their critical first-year of college. This article presents qualitative data from a multiple case study of seven cohorts of the MLVC, which captures students’ perceptions of their experience.
Effects of Self-Efficacy on Academic Success of First-Generation College Sophomore Students
The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of self-efficacy on academic success of first-generation college sophomore students. The participants in the study consisted of college sophomores from 5 of the 23 California State University campuses. An online College Self-Efficacy Inventory was employed to measure participants’ self-efficacy levels. The study explored four areas: the relationship between self-efficacy scores and academic success as defined by GPA and persistence rates, the academic success and persistence rates between first-generation and second-and-beyond-generation college sophomore students, the effects of the demographic factors of gender and ethnicity on self-efficacy, and the relationship between institution size and self-efficacy. Findings show that self-efficacy beliefs affect GPA and persistence rates of sophomore students and second-generation college sophomores outperform their first-generation peers.
An Exploration of Intersecting Identities of First-Generation, Low-Income Students
"More than half of the students in a new study of first-generation college students were also immigrants or the children of immigrants. An Exploration of Intersecting Identities of First-Generation, Low-Income Students documents the struggle these students experience in negotiating the demands of family, community, college, peers, and work and highlights their strategies for succeeding in college."
First-Generation College Students Additional Evidence on College Experiences and Outcomes
Purposes of the study, which seeks to estimate net differences between first-generation and other college students with respect to their academic and nonacademic experiences, to estimate the net difference between first-generation students and their peers in select attainment outcomes, and to determine if the specific academic and nonacademic experiences influencing these outcomes differed in magnitude; Expectations for this study based on prior theoretical work; Description of the study method, including data collection and variables; Role of first generation college students from families where neither parent had more than a high school education on the increasing diversity; Academic achievement of first-generation students; Negative total effects of being a first-generation student; General conditional effects, such as the relative benefits derived from extracurricular activities and the impact of other nonacademic activities...
First-Generation Students, Social Class, and Literacy.
The author reflects on the challenges attributed to first-generation college students, the impact of social class on quality of educational preparation and the importance of literacy. He says the most common challenges involve academic behaviors as well as student and family expectations. He adds that the attitudes and behaviors cannot be completely explained by simply invoking the phenomenon of first-generation students and the lack of personal and family knowledge of higher education.
Gap between Educational Aspirations and Attainment for First-Generation College Students and the Role of Parental Involvement
The primary purpose of this study was to examine if parental involvement had a significant influence on the educational aspirations of first-generation students as compared to the educational aspirations of non-first-generation students. Additionally, the study investigated if the educational aspirations of first-generation students differed from their actual educational attainments. Lastly, the study explored the differences in educational attainment for first-generation students by gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of 1,879 students generated by the National Educational Longitudinal Study 1988-2000 was used as the basis for analysis.
Identity Development and Self-Esteem of First-Generation American College Students: An Exploratory Study
Based on Chickering's model, differences in self-esteem and identity development among first-generation American (FGA) college students and non first-generation American (NFGA) students were examined. FGAs were the first generation born in the U.S. to one or both parents born and raised in another country. All participants responded to the Erwin Identity Scale and the Index of Self-Esteem. Results indicated that FGAs reported significantly higher self-esteem than the NFGAs. This research adds to the body of knowledge concerning multicultural issues of development in college students. Implications for college counselors and other student affairs professionals are addressed.
Micro-barriers loom large for first-generation students
Excerpt: "The biggest lesson of Hillbilly Elegy is just how much there is to teach. As the divides in our culture and our economy have deepened, bridging the distance between Vance’s world and the college environment has become a bigger lift. Our well-mannered discretion about this gap is born of best intentions, but it leaves working-class kids like Vance at a real disadvantage. He makes a persuasive case for more blunt acknowledgment, ending one chapter with a "non-exhaustive list of things I didn’t know when I got to Yale Law School."
Prospective First-Generation College Students: A Social-Cognitive Perspective
The authors investigated differences in college-going expectations of middle school students who would be the 1st in their families to attend college. Social-cognitive career theory (SCCT; R. W. Lent, S. D. Brown, & G. Hackett, 1994) was used to examine college-related expectations in 272 seventh-grade students. Differences were found between prospective 1st-generation college students (PFGCSs) and their non-PFGCS peers, with the former group demonstrating lower self-efficacy, higher negative outcome expectations, and more perceived barriers. Path analysis demonstrated partial support for the SCCT model. An alternative model for PFGCSs is proposed.
Role of Motivation,Parental Support, and Peer Support in the Academic Success of Ethnic Minority First-Generation College Students.
The role of personal motivational characteristics and environmental social supports in college outcomes was examined in a longitudinal study of 100 ethnic minority first-generation college students. Personal/career-related motivation to attend college in the fall was a positive predictor and lack of peer support was a negative predictor of college adjustment the following spring. Lack of peer support also predicted lower spring GPA
Stories as Knowledge: Bringing the Lived Experience of First-Generation College Students Into the Academy
This longitudinal study of first-generation, low-income students examines the impact of their participation in a multicultural learning community (MLC) designed to challenge the isolation and marginalization they experience at a large, predominantly White research university. The MLC employed multicultural curriculum and critical pedagogy to bring students’ lived experience and narrative to the center of their learning experience. Qualitative data in the form of reflective writings and retrospective interviews showcase how first-generation students are validated as knowers and can cultivate a sense of belonging at the academy when their cultural wealth is incorporated into the classroom space.
Studying Attrition and Degree Completion Behavior among First-Generation College Students in the United States.
The article presents a research study concerning college degree completion among college students. The researchers looked first-generation students in particular. A number of factors, including rank in their high school classes; educational level of their parents; types of financial aid awarded; participation in work-study programs; and income levels affected the likelihood of graduation. The researchers also examined how ethnicity affected college completion rates. Students who attended private colleges and universities and those who had higher family income levels as well as those who received grants rather than loans had higher rates of graduation.
“Is that paper really due today?”: differences in first-generation and traditional college students’ understandings of faculty expectations.
Success in college is not simply a matter of students demonstrating academic ability. In addition, students must master the “college student” role in order to understand instructors’ expectations and apply their academic skills effectively to those expectations. This article uses data from focus groups to examine the fit between university faculty members’ expectations and students’ understanding of those expectations. Parallel discussions among groups of faculty and groups of students highlight important differences regarding issues of time management and specific aspects of coursework. We find definite incongruities between faculty and student perspectives and identify differences between traditional and first-generation college students. We argue that variations in cultural capital, based on parents’ educational experiences, correspond to important differences in each group’s mastery of the student role and, thus, their ability to respond to faculty expectations.