The First Generation Student Experience: Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success

The First Generation Student Experience: Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success

by Jeff Davis
     
 

ISBN-10: 1579223702

ISBN-13: 9781579223700

Pub. Date: 03/28/2010

Publisher: Stylus Publishing, LLC

More first-generation students are attending college than ever before, and policy makers agree that increasing their participation in higher education is a matter of priority.

Despite this, there is no agreed definition about the term, few institutions can quantify how many first-generation students are enrolled, or mistakenly conflate them with low-income students

Overview

More first-generation students are attending college than ever before, and policy makers agree that increasing their participation in higher education is a matter of priority.

Despite this, there is no agreed definition about the term, few institutions can quantify how many first-generation students are enrolled, or mistakenly conflate them with low-income students, and many important dimensions to the first-generation student experience remain poorly documented. Few institutions have in place a clear, well-articulated practice for assisting first-generation students to succeed.

Given that first-generation students comprise over 40% of incoming freshmen, increasing their retention and graduation rates can dramatically increase an institution’s overall retention and graduation rates, and enhance its image and desirability.

It is clearly in every institution’s self-interest to ensure its first-generation students succeed, to identify and count them, and understand how to support them. This book provides high-level administrators with a plan of action for deans to create the awareness necessary for meaningful long-term change, sets out a campus acclimation process, and provides guidelines for the necessary support structures.

At the heart of the book are 14 first-person narratives – by first-generation students spanning freshman to graduate years – that help the reader get to grips with the variety of ethnic and economic categories to which they belong. The book concludes by defining 14 key issues that institutions need to address, and offers a course of action for addressing them.

This book is intended for everyone who serves these students – faculty, academic advisors, counselors, student affairs professionals, admissions officers, and administrators – and offers a set of best practices for how two- and four-year institutions can improve the success of their first-generation student populations.

An ACPA Publication

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781579223700
Publisher:
Stylus Publishing, LLC
Publication date:
03/28/2010
Series:
ACPA Publication Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 How Many First-Generation College Students Are There? 1

Definitions 2

Counting First-Generation College Students 7

How Institutions Can Count Students 8

What the Data Show 11

First-Generation Student Status as a Proxy for Ethnicity 14

Counting the Institutions That Will Be Counting First-Generation Students 17

Now Is the Time for Action 22

Sonoma State University 24

Notes 27

2 The Observable Behaviors of First-Generation College Students 29

Learning the Culture of College 32

First-Generation Status Is Not the Same as Low-Income Status 33

Section 1 Learning at College 36

Precollege Preparation 36

Being Underprepared at College 38

Learning How to Srudy 40

Different Way of Learning 41

New Way of Perceiving the World 43

Learning About Majors 45

Section 2 Campus Presence 47

The Imposter Phenomenon 48

Differences in the Classroom 50

Alternative Ways of Support 52

Validating the Presence of First-Generation Student 53

3 The Internal Psychology of First-Generation College Students 58

Section 1 An Extended Campus Acclimation Process 59

The Existential Question About College Attendance 60

The Existential Question and Low-Income Status 61

Developing a College-Student Identity 63

Engagement With Physical Space 65

Campus Size 69

Blending In 71

Section 2 The Importance and Impact of Personal Relationships 73

Family Relationships 73

Family Mythologies About College 77

Faculty Relationships 79

Nonfaculty Professional Relationships 82

Peer Relationships and Role Models 83

4 In Their Own Words 87

Narrative 1 Rosa Avila 89

Narrative 2 Crystal Halverson 94

Narrative 3 Calvin Knight 99

Narrative 4 Maria Bravos 107

Narrarive 5 Erica Camacho 110

Narrative 6 Jessica Gomez 114

Narrative 7 Jeff Peterson 118

Narrative 8 Anna Gutierrez 122

Narrative 9 John Hunter 127

Narrative 10 Natalie Jimenez 132

Narrative 11 Carlos Sosa 135

Narrative 12 Yolanda Ortiz 140

Narrative 13 Elizabeth Ordaz 144

Narrative 14 Phillip Hammer 148

5 Narrative Analysis 154

Narratives 1—3 Avila, Halverson, and Knight 155

Narratives 4—7 Bravos, Camacho, Gomez, and Peterson 160

Narratives 8—11 Gutierrez, Hunter, Jimenez, and Sosa 165

Narratives 12—14 Orciz, Ordaz, and Hammer 169

6 Recommendations 176

Section 1 Learning at College 180

Issue 1 180

Issue 2 182

Issue 3 184

Issue 4 185

Section 2 Campus Presence 186

Issue 5 186

Issue 6 187

Issue 7 189

Section 3 An Extended Campus Acclimation Process 190

Issue 8 190

Issue 9 191

Issue 10 193

Issue 11 195

Section 4 The Importance and Impact of Personal Relationships 196

Issue 12 196

Issue 13 199

Issue 14 200

Conclusion 203

References 207

About the Author 215

Index 217

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