Date

5-1-2020

Description

First-generation college students are almost three times as likely to withdraw from school within three years as students with parents who have a bachelor's degree (NCES). Despite this, first-generation students make up about one-third of students enrolled in college. To encourage the creation of fair and equal college experiences, there is a need to understand what first-generation college students require to be successful. Prior research has examined the general barriers to success that college students experience, but we know very little about how parental expectations shape student success. Drawing on five in-depth interviews with first-year college-age women from a liberal arts institution in the northeast United States, a marked difference in parental involvement is found. Analysis of narratives of students whose parents are college-educated reveals a specific collection of behaviors that were employed by students to succeed, while examination of narratives of first-generation college students uncovers the challenges that these students encountered navigating college without the cultural capital that is afforded from parents who have college educations. The preliminary data suggest that the first-year college students' experience is shaped by their own parents' experience and familiarity with the academic and social aspects of college life. The findings from this study point to the need for counseling directed towards first-year students about behaviors that can foster achievement and confidence in college, and accessibility to skill toolkits that will equip first-generation college students to thrive in an environment with which their parents have had limited exposure.

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May 1st, 12:00 AM

What to Expect When You're Expected: Uncovering the Role of Cultural Capital in College Success

First-generation college students are almost three times as likely to withdraw from school within three years as students with parents who have a bachelor's degree (NCES). Despite this, first-generation students make up about one-third of students enrolled in college. To encourage the creation of fair and equal college experiences, there is a need to understand what first-generation college students require to be successful. Prior research has examined the general barriers to success that college students experience, but we know very little about how parental expectations shape student success. Drawing on five in-depth interviews with first-year college-age women from a liberal arts institution in the northeast United States, a marked difference in parental involvement is found. Analysis of narratives of students whose parents are college-educated reveals a specific collection of behaviors that were employed by students to succeed, while examination of narratives of first-generation college students uncovers the challenges that these students encountered navigating college without the cultural capital that is afforded from parents who have college educations. The preliminary data suggest that the first-year college students' experience is shaped by their own parents' experience and familiarity with the academic and social aspects of college life. The findings from this study point to the need for counseling directed towards first-year students about behaviors that can foster achievement and confidence in college, and accessibility to skill toolkits that will equip first-generation college students to thrive in an environment with which their parents have had limited exposure.