Graduation Date

5-2018

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree

Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major

Psychology

Primary Minor

Leadership Studies

Program Director

LeeAnn Bartolini, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Veronica Fruiht, PhD

Abstract

First generation college (FGC) students are people whose parents didn’t earn a college degree (Stebleton, Soria, & Huesman, 2014). FGC students may come from marginalized backgrounds, which may limit or hinder their higher education experience (Nuñez, 2009). Self-efficacy is necessary for FGC students to surpass the challenges they face, as those who feel less capable don’t continue the pursuit of higher education. FGC students may feel like their demographics or the challenges they face are magnified by the salient stereotypes of their group identification (Wout, Danso, Jackson, & Spencer, 2008), which could then make them feel like they don’t belong on college campuses. Also, FGC students, especially those of immigrant parents, may feel a high sense of obligation and high pressures to succeed academically because immigrant parents remain optimistic about the futures of their children and reinforce the importance of higher education (Raleigh & Kao, 2010). Of the 33 college students who participated in this study, 18 were FGC students. The Academic Self-Efficacy Measure (Byrne, Flood, & Griffin, 2014), the University Connectedness Scale (Stallman & Hurst, 2016), and the Respect for Family Measure (Fuligni, & Pedersen, 2002) were used to compare the experiences of FGC students to continuing generation college students. Results suggested that FGC students do feel a strong obligation to their family, and traditional aged FGC students have poorer self-efficacy than continuing generation college students. Our understanding of these differences could help foster a better experience for all students.

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