Skip to main content

A Guide to the Research: Transition Programs / Retention / Learning Communities

Presents research literature and other sources of information about first generation college students, focusing on four-year undergraduate and graduate school experiences.

Recently Added

* Materón-Arum, Esther, "How Honors Programs Can Assist in the Transition of Gifted First-Generation and African American College Students," in Setting the Table for Diversity, Lisa L Coleman and  Jonathan D Kotinek. Lincoln, NE : National Collegiate Honors Council, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2010, pp. 99-114. Requires Interlibrary Loan.

* Wawrzynski, Matthew R. and Jody E. Jessup-Anger, "From Expectations to Experiences: Using a Structural Typology to Understand First-Year Student Outcomes in Academically Based Living-Learning Communities," Journal of College Student Development, Vol. 51, issue 2 (March/April 2010), pp. 201-217.

* Wright, Stephen L., Michael A. Jenkins-Guarnieri, and Jennifer L. Murdock, "Career Development among First-Year College Students: College Self-Efficacy, Student Persistence, and Academic Success," Journal of Career Development, vol. 40, issue 4 (August 2013), pp. 292-310. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
The authors sought to understand the potential role of college self-efficacy in first-year student persistence and academic success at a medium size university. Using a final sample of 401 undergraduates, regression analyses suggested that increased levels of college self-efficacy at the first semester's end were associated with greater odds of persisting into the Spring semester and of being academically successful, after controlling for gender, ethnicity, first-generation status, high school grade point average (GPA), and initial level of college self-efficacy.

Transition & Retention Programs and Learning Communities (A-I)      [Jump to J-Y]

* Adam, Anthony J. and Gerald H. Gaither. Retention in Higher Education: A Selective Resource Guide. New Directions for Institutional Research, issue 125 (Spr 2005), pp. 107-122.
This chapter concludes the volume with resources and websites for the interested reader and researcher.

* Anderson, Elizabeth G. Freshmen retention: The impact of a first year experience program on student satisfaction and academic performance. Wilmington University (Delaware), 2009, 120 pages.
This study utilized pre and post surveys, interviews, and ex post facto data from student records to examine the impact of a Freshman Experience program (FEXP) on student satisfaction, academic performance and freshman retention at a small Mid-Atlantic Catholic University. One hundred and thirty five incoming freshmen participated in the study. The students' characteristics, expectations prior to their first semester in college, their experiences with the FEXP during their first semester, and finally their academic performance and persistence were analyzed. Special attention was given to any differences between Alternative Admission Program (AAP) students and First Time Freshman (FTF) students. In addition, the academic performance and persistence was noted for the entire incoming freshmen class. The results of this study indicate that the mentoring component of the FEXP program was more beneficial to the students who had a least one parent graduate from college. In addition, the preference for workshops identified a difference among AAP and FTF students. While FTF students showed an interest in grades and college life, AAP students seemed more concerned with finances and jobs. Overall, satisfaction with the FEXP program was greater for AAP students. The University had more success retaining female students, those who declared a major and AAP students. Some recommendations include a summer program for AAP students focusing on concentration skills and study skills, a mentoring program for First Generation Students (FGS), educational workshops directed to students who have not decided on a major and exit interviews for students who decide to leave the University.

* Ayala, Connie and Al Striplen. A Career Introduction Model for First-Generation College Freshmen Students. 2002.
The Career Introduction Model discussed in this chapter is an early intervention strategy intended to support the first-generation freshmen enrolled in the Education Opportunity Program (EOP) at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). The model is an interactive approach to assist students in connecting their academic pathway to their career pathway. As a growing population in higher education, first-generation students represent a unique group with distinct goals, motivations, and constraints. This model is important for the following reasons: to counteract students' limited occupational knowledge; to provide a tangible connection with a long-term resource center; and to help increase students' self-efficacy and sense of inquiry with regard to major selection and career choices. Although the model presented focuses on the first-generation student population, it can easily be modified and implemented to serve other diverse groups. Re-entry students, students with disabilities, veterans, and other groups with unique characteristics also deserve a personal approach and a welcoming hand into the university.

* Barry, Leasha M., Cynthia Hudley, Melissa Kelly, Melissa, and Su-Je Cho. Differences in self-reported disclosure of college experiences by first-generation college student status. Adolescence, vol. 44 (Spring 2009), pp. 55-68.
Disclosure of stressful life experiences is described here as a potential means of stress reduction and as a potential indicator of available support. This study compared reports of the disclosure of college experiences by college freshmen (N = 1,539). Using a student survey conducted at four universities across the country, disclosure by first-generation student status was compared. The targets of students' disclosure, including family, friends from home, friends at school, and professionals at school also were examined. Differences by first-generation status were found in disclosure and the targets of disclosure. Implications include first-generation college students' need for increased opportunities to disclose stressful college-related experiences to others.

* Bergeron, Dyonne Michelle. The Relationship of Perceived Intellectual and Social Attainment to Academic Success of First-Generation, First-Year College Students Participating in a First Generation Access Program. Ed. D. Dissertation, Adult, Career, and Higher Education Dept., University of South Florida, 2013.
The purpose of this study was to advance understanding of perceived intellectual and social attainment gains of first-generation, first-year college students participating in First Generation Access Programs at the University of South Florida (USF), a large, public research university in Florida. Understanding the self-reported intellectual and personal/social gains of these students in higher education can lead to higher retention rates, creative strategies that promote academic success, affective cognitive and personal development activities and services that meet the needs of this rapidly growing at-risk student population with their persistence and transition to college.

* Bettencourt, Genia M. First generation students in clubs and organizations. Thesis, College STudent Services Administration, Oregon State University, 2010.
Existing literature on first generation students focuses on the challenges these students encounter in arriving at and persisting within higher education. The area of first generation student involvement, particularly within clubs and organizations on campus, is relatively unknown. In this study, I conducted nine qualitative interviews with first generation students regarding their perceptions on joining clubs and organizations. Sub-questions asked how first generation students identify and select clubs and organizations to join and what factors influence their joining and persistence. From those interviews, three themes emerged: (a) the ability to make a difference through the organization, (b) the pursuit of social and cultural capital, and (c) the desire to maximize the college experience. This information may allow practitioners to help first generation students select meaningful avenues of involvement, leading to greater persistence and satisfaction within higher education.

* Brockman, Elizabeth, Marcy Taylor, MaryAnn K. Crawford, MaryAnn K., and Melinda Kreth. Helping Students Cross the Threshold: Implications from a University Writing Assessment. English Journal, vol. 99, issue 3 (Jan. 2010), pp. 42-49.
Some "English Journal" ("EJ") readers may fondly (or not so fondly) remember reading lists for college-bound students, which were once routinely distributed to promote the reading of "The Scarlet Letter," "Pride and Prejudice," "The Pearl," and other noteworthy classics. Today, virtually any English teacher would recognize that a focus on solely canonical texts was the greatest flaw of these lists; however, another important consideration exists: How did the authors know that college professors expected students to have read these books? Were faculty polled to learn if the reading lists mattered and why? Were focus group interviews conducted of students who had and had not read these books? Did an analysis of syllabi or assignments demonstrate a prevalence of these books in university classes? In short, what "assessment" confirmed the value of reading lists for college-bound students? Because of the current testing craze across the country, the authors use the A-word, "assessment," cautiously; however, "assessment" need not be an inherently negative word. As evidence, "EJ" readers should consider the writing assessment currently taking place across the country on university campuses. Unlike state-mandated tests, university assessment tends to be designed, implemented, and interpreted by local faculty and administrators for local purposes, such as to more accurately describe and analyze curricular programs, to enhance teaching, and to improve student learning--all honorable objectives. Most importantly here for "EJ" readers, university assessment initiatives have the potential to provide highly relevant information to English teachers, especially those working with college-bound students. To substantiate this claim, the authors share results and classroom implications from their assessment of faculty perceptions about writing at a regional, Midwestern campus of 20,000 students, many of whom are first-generation college students. Additionally, the authors offer assessment strategies to help "EJ" readers respond to anecdotal claims and state assessment results in their own schools.

* Burnham, Philip Sheridan. Lighting the Way: Mentorship and Retention of First Generation College Students. Thesis, Counselor Education, Counseling and Family Therapy, Central Kentucky State University, 2013.This study investigates whether having a higher education professional serving as a mentor increases the retention rate of first generation college students and the role institutional culture plays in a student's desire to remain at the university. The Principal Investigator (PI) hypothesized that the institution does send subtle messages of inferiority to first generation college students and having a higher education professional serving as an academic mentor does increase the retention of this population. Twelve students within Central Connecticut State University's Educational Opportunity Program took a twenty question online survey which measured students' perception of the campus environment, academic role models, and how the two impact their retention. Four of those twelve students elected to take part in an in-person, follow up interview, which allowed the PI to obtain more elaborative answers. The research shows that having an academic mentor does increase the retention rate of first generation college students and the university does send subtle messages of inferiority to first generation college students. Since most of the research up to this point deals with difficulties faced by first generation college students, the effectiveness of college programs which cater to this population, or what makes a TRIO program successful, this study contributes to the discussion by looking at how academic mentoring influences the perceptions of first generation college students, and how those perceptions affect their retention. Study limitations include the fact that this research focuses on one program on one campus, a small sample, a less diverse sample than desirable, and the tight timeframe. Future research may look at how the experience of Central Connecticut State University students compare to those students at another university and the academic experience of men.

* Carey, Kevin, Graduation Rate Watch: Making Minority Student Success a Priority, Education Sector. 36 pp.
College graduation rates for minority students are often shockingly low. Most institutions have significantly lower graduation rates for black students than for white students. This report demonstrates that these high-failure rates are not inevitable: Some institutions are graduating black students at a higher rate than white students. The report describes a comprehension program developed at Florida State University in 2000 called CARE (Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement) that helps low-income, first-generation college students succeed. Its overall philosophy is to identify every piece of information students might need or stumbling block they might encounter and help them through. The report finds that what distinguishes colleges and universities that have truly made a difference on behalf of minority students is that they pay attention to graduation rates. They monitor year-to-year change, study the impact of different interventions on student outcomes, break down the numbers among different student populations, and continuously ask themselves how they could improve. The report observes that the current system of incentives, which provides too few reasons to improve college graduation rates, is comprised of a series of interlocking funding systems, governmental relationships, and market forces that combine to give institutional leaders powerful incentives to make certain kinds of decisions and not make others. The report explains how those systems work and makes the following recommendations on how they could be changed: (1) change the rankings; (2) improve graduation rate measures; (3) improve state accountability systems; (4) change funding incentives; (5) improve accreditation; and (6) move back to need-based financial aid. Appended to this document are: (1) Four-Year Colleges and Universities with Small or Nonexistent Black/White Six-Year Graduation Rate Gaps, 2001-2006; and (2) Four-Year Colleges and Universities With Large Black/White Six-Year Graduation Rate Gaps, 2001-2006. (Contains 4 tables and 27 endnotes.)

* Carter, Carolyn S. and Ruby Robinson, "Can We Send Some of the Money Back Home to Our Families?" Tensions of Transition in an Early Intervention Program for Rural Appalachian Students, Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 1-5, 2002).
This paper explores issues surrounding the interplay of college preparation, financial assistance, cultural norms, and transition to college for Appalachian first-generation college students from low-income rural families. The Robinson Scholars Program aims to significantly improve the college-going rate in 29 counties in eastern Kentucky. The program uses a highly competitive application process to identify scholarship recipients in the eighth grade, awards scholarships covering the full costs of 8-10 semesters in the University of Kentucky and associated community colleges, addresses the needs of student participants while they complete high school, and assists in the transition to college life. Surveys, focus groups, and interviews were conducted with approximately 50 Robinson scholars in a "rising junior" summer academic program and with 5 college freshmen receiving Robinson scholarships. Questions covered expectations and realities in making the transition to college, including issues related to homesickness and ties to family and community, new friendships and dealing with diversity, freedom and responsibility, and academic transitions. Implications for transition programs are discussed with regard to building bridges between the university and rural communities, providing social support to college students, dealing with students' unrealistic beliefs that they were well prepared for college, and promoting faculty-student connections. Broader program impacts on the region are also discussed.

* Carter, Shannon and Donna Dunbar-Odom. The Converging Literacies Center: An Integrated Model for Writing Programs, Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 14, issue 1 (Fall 2009).
The Converging Literacies Center (CLiC) is a deeply integrated model for writing programs, bringing together the writing center, first-year writing, basic writing, professional development activities, graduate coursework, and research activities to re-imagine and support twenty-first-century literacies. What is unique about CLiC is not merely the extent of this integration but the non-traditional populations from which research and best practices emerge: The vast majority of our undergraduates are first-generation college students. This webtext discusses the need for programs like this one as well as the specific steps we have taken to develop CLiC (and why). It includes video, audio, web, and text-based media elements.

* Choy, Susan P., Laura J. Horn, Anne-Marie Nunez, Anne-Marie, and Xianglei Chen. Transition to College: What Helps At-Risk Students and Students Whose Parents Did Not Attend College. New Directions for Institutional Research, vol. 2000, issue 107 (Fall 2000: "Understanding the College Choice of Disadvantaged Students, No. 107"), pp. 45-63.
Investigates factors that facilitate four-year college enrollment for subpopulations of high school students. Students that find themselves at risk and those with parents who have no college experience receive primary consideration.

* Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Programs to Improve the Retention and Success of Underserved Students at Colorado Public Institutions. Report to the Education Committees of the Colorado General Assembly in Response to HB 06-1024. 2007. 55 pp.
The purpose of this report is to describe the programs and services designed to support underserved students at Colorado's public colleges and universities. This report was prepared in response to HB06-1024 Concerning Underserved Students at Institutions of Higher Education, which requires each governing board to prepare and submit a report regarding underserved students to include: (1) Programs and services that each state institution of higher education under the governing board's control provides to address the retention and success of underserved students; and (2) Additional programs or services for underserved students that the state institution of higher education would propose to provide and the related costs for the implementation of those proposed programs or services. The Department of Higher Education (DHE) collected information for this report from all public colleges and universities in the state. Although HB06-1024 requested a response by the state's public two and four-year institutions,; the DHE did not create and disperse a report template to the institutions for the collection and presentation of the data provided herein. Therefore, submissions from the state's institutions are variable: the data collected are not comparable. However, the narrative portions of the institutional level reports provide a full description of the services, programs and activities designed to serve underserved students, and the reports yield significant information concerning the institutional level programs and services designed to recruit, retain and graduate underserved populations. The reports do not contain or provide consistent definitions of or data for underserved students, including low-income and first generation students. Most of the institutions provided some institutional level data concerning overall enrollment numbers of racially diverse students; in most institutional reports this data is disaggregated by race category. Two appendixes include: (1) Campus Level Data, Four-Year Colleges and Universities; and (2) Campus Level Data, 2-Year Colleges. (Contains 61 tables.)

* Conley, Paige A. and Maria L. Hamlin. Justice-Learning: Exploring the Efficacy with Low-Income, First-Generation College Students, Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, vol. 16, issue 1 (Fall 2009), pp. 47-58.
Higher education continues to wrestle with the challenge of engaging and retaining traditionally marginalized populations, particularly first-generation college students of color from low-income backgrounds. The typical North American campus, as a privileged space, has failed to successfully address or dismantle systems of power and difference that continue to influence national retention and graduation rates for many low-income, first-generation college students. This study presents findings from a qualitative research inquiry which indicates that a "justice-learning" curriculum, as a first-year seminar experience, can influence academic and civic engagement for students who identify as low-income, first-generation college students.

* Cowan Pitre, Charisse and Paul Pitre, Increasing Underrepresented High School Students' College Transitions and Achievements: TRIO Educational Opportunity ProgramsNASSP Bulletin, vol. 93, issue 2 (2009), pp. 96-110.
Governmental TRIO Programs remain one proven pathway for ensuring college preparedness and access for all students. Research reviewed in this article suggests TRIO educational opportunity programs have been successful in increasing both the higher education attendance rates and educational attainment of students from low-income, first-generation college, and underrepresented ethnic minority backgrounds. Given the increasing political debate and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against voluntary school desegregation, TRIO Programs are now more critical than ever for extending higher educational opportunities to students from diverse social and economic backgrounds. Furthermore, these programs may provide a model for P-12 school leaders, individual institutions, and all education professionals interested in widening access to higher education for all of our country's citizens.

* Cushman, Kathleen, Facing the Culture Shock of CollegeEducational Leadership, vol. 64, issue 7 (Apr 2007), pp. 44-47. 
Cushman shares the reflections of 16 college students she worked with over two years who were the first in their families to attend college. Students describe how entering a climate where most fellow students come from backgrounds of greater wealth and privilege--and from family traditions of higher education--called forth feelings of intimidation and doubt. Students describe strategies for maintaining their confidence while learning to succeed in a college climate. Cushman provides a list of approaches and key resources secondary teachers can use to prepare first-generation college students to make it through their college years.

* Dansby, Jacqueline O. and Gloria Dansby-Giles. High School Graduation Rates of Potential First Generation College Students: A Qualitative Case Study, Forum on Public Policy Online, vol. 2011,  issue 3, 2011.
Educational reform in the United States has focused on several factors such as academic achievement, performance on standardized test scores, dropout rates, the mandate of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 (Dee and Jacob, 2010) and other changes. A new call for a broader and bolder strategy for educational reform that focused on enrichment programs, workshops for parents and school health services was issued by Steen and Noguera, 2010. They also encouraged school counselors to seek out and connect with programs in the community that offered enrichment activities outside of school hours. Given the importance of out of school enrichment programs, this presentation explores the experiences, practices and perceptions of first generation college students that enhanced their desire to remain in school and graduate. In addition, it will examine the influence of academic factors and practices as well as extracurricular experiences and participation in Upward Bound, a special enrichment program, on their graduation rate.

* Davis, Jeff. The First Generation Student Experience : Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success. Stylus Publishing, 2010.  Requires Interlibrary Loan.
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. This book provides administrators with a plan of action to create the awareness necessary for meaningful long-term change, sets out a campus acclimation process, and provides guidelines for the necessary support structures. First-person narratives by first-generation students 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.

* Derk, Angela Marie. Highlighting Hope: An Exploration of the Experiences of West Virginia University McNair Scholars. Dissertation. College of Human Resources and Education, Curriculum and Instruction, West Virginia University, 2007.
This study focuses on individual development and transformation of West Virginia University (WVU) McNair scholars as they exist in numerous realities. These scholars are first-generation/low-income students and/or minority students that wish to obtain their terminal degree. McNair scholars begin as undergraduate students ensconced within the educational community of the McNair Scholars Program (MSP) at WVU then independently enter graduate school programs throughout the nation. The WVU McNair scholars Program is one of over 170 national McNair programs within American higher education. This research, a phenomenological ethnography, provides a glimpse into the lives of the many students served via the MSP and records their perspectives that may benefit both the modern student as well as contemporary educators. I, a MSP Graduate Assistant and WVU McNair alumna, interviewed twenty one WVU McNair scholars along with the WVU MSP director and assistant director. Each scholar received their undergraduate education at WVU and many have now entered graduate school throughout the nation. This is a qualitative study; in addition to personal interviews of a purposeful sample it also incorporates document analysis and observation of students and events throughout an academic year.

* Edmonson, Stacey, Alice Fisher, and Judy Christensen, Project CONNECT: A University's Effort to Close the Gaps. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).
This paper describes Project Creating Opportunities for Navigating and Easing through College Transition (CONNECT), a program implemented by Sam Houston State University, Texas, to assist low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities to realize the possibilities of higher education. Results of an evaluation of Project CONNECT are also reported. Project CONNECT aims to have a minimum of 50% of participants persist to completion of the academic programs in which they are enrolled and at least two-thirds are expected to meet academic performance standards to stay in good standing. Project CONNECT targets students as they enter the institution and ensures that students have access to cultural events, faculty advisers, peer mentors, and other services they may need. In its first year, Project CONNECT has been very successful. A total of 150 students were full time participants, 50 each at 2 participating junior colleges and 50 at Sam Houston State University. The Project experienced a 14% graduation rate in its first year of operation, and 98% of participants were persisting toward completion of a degree. An appendix contains a summary of evaluation findings. (Contains 1 table and 10 references.)

* Eitel, Susan J. and Jennifer Martin. First-Generation Female College Students' Financial Literacy: Real and Perceived Barriers to Degree. College Student Journal, vol. 43, issue 2 (Jun 2009), pp. 616-630.
First-generation female college students (FGFCS) make up a large portion of the diversity in higher education. Unfortunately "access" to education does not translate to success. Persistence and degree completion for these students is often undermined by seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The purposes of this study were to identify the financial literacy needs of FGFCS and determine how they relate to persistence and degree completion. Participants were 204 FGFCS from one university. Quantitative analysis was used to explore financial literacy using the 2006 Jump$tart survey, and qualitative analysis uncovered perceived financial literacy needs. The participants were not financially literate; and, although they had considerable perceived needs relating to financial literacy, those needs did not result in information-seeking behavior. Age, ethnicity, and student classification were predictors of higher financial literacy. The study supports a need for financial literacy education as an integrated component of higher education, as well as a need for professional personal financial planners to ensure future financial stability and success for those who graduate and those who do not. In addition, a comprehensive exploration of the gaps in financial literacy between White students and students of color demands immediate action.

* Engle, Jennifer, Adolfo Bermeo and Colleen O'Brien. Straight from the Source: What Works for First-Generation College Students. Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2006. 48 pp.
This report presents the findings from focus groups with first-generation students in Texas. The students shared what works to help them make the transition from high school to college, as well as what didn't work or what could work better to get more first-generation students into college. Pre-college services and programs can ease the transition from high school to college by focusing on: (1) raising students' aspiration for college; (2) helping students navigate the college admissions process; (3) acclimating students to the college environment; (4) involving parents in the college-going process; (5) helping students manage the financial aspects of college; and (6) developing personal relationships with students. Based on students' own suggestions, the report offers the following recommendations to practitioners and policymakers: (1) Get the message out to all students about college as early as possible; (2) Better prepare students for college; and (3) Provide more support for students once in college.

* Gatto, Laura. An exploratory, phenomenological study of the lived experience of first-generation female students. Thesis, University of Guelph (Canada), 2010, 173 pp.
This thesis is an investigation of the lived experience of first generation female students in their first year of study at the University of Guelph in Guelph Ontario, Canada. The study highlights the importance of learning about the lived experience of first-generation female students, from their perspectives and in their own words. As previous research focuses most often on the demographics, academic performance, and persistence rates of first-generation students, this study is significant as it approaches the female first-generation student experience from a phenomenological standpoint. The women spoke at length about the effect their parents and siblings had on their academic lives. They talked of their experiences transitioning to university and the issues and challenges associated with their new environments. The participants in this study also shared what advice they would give to other first-generation students entering higher education.

* Harrell, Pamela Esprívalo and William Scott Forney. Ready or Not, Here We Come: Retaining Hispanic and First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, vol. 27, issue 2 (February 2003), pp. 147-56. Available in the Education Library.
A review of research into the enrollment and retention of Hispanic students in higher education is provided. This review covers research into the high school academic preparation of Hispanic students, performance of Hispanic students on college entrance examinations, and family demographics that predict the retention and persistence of Hispanic students in higher education. It reveals significant career preparation changes that must be implemented if Hispanic students are to participate fully and equally in U.S. society. The review highlights the need for public schools to provide the resources to enable Hispanic students to compete with majority students and the need for enrollment of Hispanic students in more rigorous high school curricula. Furthermore, the review indicates that models and mentors are needed to help Hispanic students to navigate the college system.

* Hodge, Gail D., Ph.D. A study of first- and continuing-generation college students' use of internet communication technologies in social capital and its contribution to their persistence in college. Nova Southeastern University, 2009, 247 pp.
Prior studies have shown that students who are the first in their families to attend college fail to persist in college more so than their continuing-generation (CG) counterparts do. Prior research on this phenomenon has helped to identify various factors that contribute to the lower college persistence of first-generation (FG) students. For example, social capital has been identified as a factor that improves student persistence in college. Prior studies have shown that FG students tend to enter college with lower social capital than their CG student counterparts do. Additionally, while in school, FG students tend not to engage in behaviors that can help them in the creation of social capital. There has been growing research on how Internet communication technologies (ICTs) may be used as a resource in the creation of social capital. Specifically, there have been several studies that have examined how the Internet has provided opportunities for the creation of both bonding (relationships with persons inside one's cultural network, like family and close friends) and bridging (persons outside one's cultural network) forms of social capital. This study used a non-experimental design approach to compare the differences in technology-enabled bonding (TEBD) and technology-enabled bridging (TEBR) behaviors of FG and CG students. This study also used a predictive design approach aimed at predicting the persistence in college of first-year students based on the contributions of TEBD and TEBR behaviors, as well as socioeconomic status (SES) and high school grade point average (GPA). Finally, this study sought to develop and validate an instrument that could reliably measure the TEBD and TEBR behaviors of college students for use in future studies. A sample of 316 full-time first- to second-year students at a small, private, college in the Midwestern United States were surveyed on the dimensions of their TEBD (emotional support, access to resources, and sociability behavior) and TEBR (involvement in campus activities, contact with others unlike themselves, sociability behaviors, and academic activities) behaviors, as well as three dimensions of SES (parental education, parental income, and parental occupations) and high school GPA. Findings of this study showed there was no significant difference in the TEBD and TEBR behaviors of FG and CG students, which in itself is significant. Additionally, this study found high school GPA and one dimension of SES (parental income) to be positive predictors of student persistence in college. This study also found one dimension of TEBD (access to resources), one dimension of TEBR (contact with others unlike themselves), and one dimension of SES (parental occupation), to be negative predictors of student persistence in college. This study made the following three important contributions: (1) the development of an instrument for measuring TEBD and TEBR behaviors of college students; (2) an investigation of the differences in TEBD and TEBR behaviors of FG and CG students; and, (3) an investigation of key constructs that contribute to student persistence from their first-to-second year of college. Recommendations for future research were made which included extending this research to (1) include other types of technology communication devices, such as cell phones; (2) examine the contributions of TEBD and TEBR to persistence in college between semesters; (3) improve the methodology for collecting survey data, and (4) investigate if there are significant differences between FG and CG students on the amount of time spent online engaged in social and academic activities, as well as examine if time spent online is a predictor of student persistence in college.

* Hunter, Mary Stuart, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, and Eric R. White, Eric R., Eds., Retention of Students from First Generation and Low Income Backgrounds, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 2007. 250 pp.
Grounded in the philosophy that academic advising is a robust form of one-on-one teaching, this monograph places advising in a new light, one that brings it to the center of the institutional mission and activity. This monograph challenges all readers to embrace the tremendous potential that academic advising has for educating today's college students. Chapter authors explore the advising paradigm; examine current student demographics; and address learning patterns, self-assessment, and technology as key components of advising. Chapters also explore academic advising before enrollment and beyond the advising office, as well as the critical issue of advising assessment. The diverse populations of first-year students addressed in this monograph include adult learners, students of color, students with disabilities, honors students, undecided students, first-generation students, and GLBT students. The monograph editors conclude the volume by offering a series of recommendations and addressing the future of advising. Following notes from the editors (Mary Stuart Hunter, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, and Eric R. White), 16 chapters are included, divided into four sections. Section One, Foundations for Academic Advising in the 21st Century, includes: (1) The Academic Advisor as Teacher: First-Year Transitions (Ruth A. Darling and Marianne Woodside); and (2) A National Portrait of First-Year Students (Jennifer R. Keup and Jillian Kinzie). Section Two, Comprehensive Approaches to Academic Advising, includes: (3) The Power of Personalized Learning Patterns in Academic Advising (Christine Johnston and Betsy McCalla-Wriggins); (4) Self-Assessment: Relevance and Value in First-Year Advising (Joanne K. Damminger); (5) Using Technology to Enhance the Advising Experience (Wesley P. Lipschultz and Michael J. Leonard); (6) Advising First-Year Students Before Enrollment (Jim Black); (7) Collaborations Beyond the Advising Office (Mary Stuart Hunter, Jean Henscheid, and Michelle Mouton); and (8) Assessment of Advising: Measuring Teaching and Learning Outcomes Outside the Classroom (Victoria McGillin and Charlie Nutt). Section Three, Critical Issues and Strategies for Advising Diverse Populations of First-Year Students, includes: (9) Academic Advising of First-Year Adult Students (Penny J. Rice and Sharon Paterson McGuire); (10) Creating Vital Students of Color Communities in the First Year with Academic Advising (Evette J. Castillo); (11) Advising First-Year Students with Disabilities (Dick Vallandingham); (12) Advising First-Year Honors Students (Marion Schwartz); (13) Adapting Learning Theory to Advising First-Year Undecided Students (Melinda McDonald and George E. Steele); (14) First-Generation College Students: First-Year Challenges (Ruth A. Darling and Melissa Scandlyn Smith); and (15) Advising Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender First-Year Students (Casey Self). Section Four, Summary, Recommendations, and the Future, concludes with: (16) Challenges and Recommendations for Today's Advisors (Eric R. White, Betsy McCalla-Wriggins, and Mary Stuart Hunter). Three appendixes follow: (1) Concept of Academic Advising (National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)); (2) The Statement of Core Values of Academic Advising (NACADA); and (3) Academic Advising Program: CAS Standards and Guidelines (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education). Author information is also included.

* Hutchens, Kelli, Matthew Deffendall and Michael Peabody. "Supporting First Generation College Students," Kentucky Journal of Higher Education Policy and Practice, Vol. 1: Issue 1, 2011.
Seeking to help support first generation college students (FGCS), the University of Kentucky (UK) has developed new programming and initiatives in recent years aimed at enhancing institutional support for this student group. Among these efforts was the launch in 2009 of the First Scholars program at UK, a project funded by and affiliated with the Suder Foundation, which currently funds five First Scholars programs at universities around the country. This practitioner’s brief first provides an overview of relevant literature related to serving FGCS and then discusses programmatic efforts undertaken at UK designed to improve the retention and graduation rates of FGCS.

* Inkelas, Karen Kurotsuchi, Zaneeta E. Daver, Kristen E. Vogt,and Jeannie Brown Leonard, Living-Learning Programs and First-Generation College Students' Academic and Social Transition to College, Research in Higher Education, vol. 48, issue 4 (Jun 2007), pp. 403-434.
This study examines the role of living-learning (L/L) programs in facilitating first-generation students' perceived academic and social transition to college. Using a sample of 1,335 first-generation students from 33 4-year institutions who participated in the National Study of Living-Learning Programs during Spring 2004, the results of the study show that first-generation students in L/L programs reported a more successful academic and social transition to college than their first-generation counterparts living in a traditional residence hall setting. In addition, interactions with faculty members and using residence hall resources facilitated an easier academic transition for first-generation students in L/L programs, and supportive residence hall climates were related to an easier social transition. A preliminary interpretation of this study's results is that structured activities, such as faculty interaction and residence hall programming, are more influential for this population than informal peer groups.

* Irwin, Mary Ann. Towards understanding the negotiation and decision-making process of withdrawal from college: A qualitative approach. Dissertation, The University of Arizona, 2010, 186 pp.
This qualitative research project focused on the interviews of 27 low socio-economic students at a research university in the southwestern United States. The students had already withdrawn from the university or were in the process of withdrawing. The study seeks to provide increased understanding of how students negotiate the decision-making process to withdraw from the first university they attended after high school. The theoretical lenses of student departure theories (Astin, 1993; Bean, 1983; Tierney, 1992; and Tinto, 1993) and decision-making theories (Becker, 1976; Frank, 1987; Kahneman, 2003; March, 1994; Scott, 2000) were combined. The Decision-Making Process Model of Student Departure is offered as a new theoretical framework that combines decision-making theories and student retention theories. This conceptualization is unlike other student departure models because it includes the proposition that forces push at the student from within the institution and forces pull them from outside the institution. In addition, it is different from other student departure models because it includes the discussion about how students think about their process to withdraw--it is not meant to describe their behaviors. Financial, academic and psychological stresses (from both within and outside the institution) influenced how the students negotiated the decision-making process to leave the institution. The students did not seek out institutional agents (advisors or faculty members) for advice when they were struggling academically. They developed their own strategies or went to their family members for advice, many of whom had never been to college.

* Ishitani, Terry T. A Longitudinal Approach to Assessing Attrition Behavior among First-Generation Students: Time-Varying Effects of Pre-College Characteristics. Research in Higher Education, vol. 44, issue 4 (Aug 2003), pp. 433-49.
Investigated longitudinal effects of being a first-generation college student on attrition. Results indicated that first-generation students were more likely to depart than their counterparts over time. After controlling for factors such as race, gender, high school grade point average (GPA), and family income, the risk of attrition was 71 percent higher. (EV) [Earlier version presented at the Annual Conference of the Indiana Association for Institutional Research (16th, Nashville, TN, March 29, 2002).]

* Ishitani, Terry T. Studying Attrition and Degree Completion Behavior among First-Generation College Students in the United States. Journal of Higher Education, vol. 77, issue 5 (Sep-Oct 2006), pp. 861-885.
This study investigated attrition and degree completion behavior of first-generation college students. Based on the findings, first-generation students were at the highest risk of departure during the second year, followed by the first year. These students were also 51% less likely to graduate within 4 years than students with college-educated parents were. (Contains 5 tables, 2 figures.)

* Ishitani, Terry T. Studying Educational Attainment among First-Generation Students in the United States. Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) (45th, San Diego, CA, May 29-Jun 1, 2005).
Although graduating from college may be viewed as a rite of passage for better social mobility in our society, first-generation students, whose parents never graduated from college, face unique challenges to achieve educational success in our country. The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate longitudinal educational attainments of first-generation students using the national data sets. This study tracks the same cohort of students over time, and illustrates their educational endeavors through multi-levels of analyses, from attrition behavior of 8th graders to the likelihood of college graduation.

Transition & Retention Programs and Learning Communities (J-Y)

* Jehangir, Rashne, Rhiannon Williams and Judith Jeske. The Influence of Multicultural Learning Communities on the Intrapersonal Development of First-Generation, Journal of College Student Development, vol. 53, issue 2 (Mar-Apr 2012 ), pp. 267-284.
This longitudinal study of first-generation, low-income students considers the impact of their participation in a multicultural learning community designed to combat the isolation and marginalization they experience at a large Midwestern research university. The study explores the extent to which multicultural curriculum and critical pedagogy create avenues for intrapersonal self-authorship for historically marginalized students in a TRiO program. Findings indicate that intentionally drawing students' lived experiences into the learning process and scaffolding opportunities to reflect on one's multiple identities positively impacts development of the intrapersonal dimension of self-authorship.

* Jehangir, Rashne. Stories as Knowledge: Bringing the Lived Experience of First-Generation College Students Into the Academy, Urban Education, vol. 45, issue 4 (July 2010), pp. 533-553.
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.

* Johnson, Lacey. At the U. of Kentucky, First-Generation Freshmen Get a Residence of Their Own, Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. 58 Issue 16 (December 9, 2011), pp. A19-A20.
The article discusses the First Scholars program at the University of Kentucky, which focuses on providing support services to first-generation college students by providing them with a tuition scholarship and presenting them with the option of living in a dormitory exclusively for first-generation freshman. Particular focus is given to the emphasis on support initiatives such as field trips, tutoring services, and seminars on college life provided to students who are part of the program.

* Jordan, Caitlyn A. The Trail Map©: A Goal Organizational Tool for First Generation College Students. Thesis. Eastern Washington University, 2013. Requires Interlibrary Loan.

* Kazen, Hayley Deann. Hispanic students' perceptions of the effectiveness of learning communities: A case study of first-year university students. Texas A&M University, 2008, 167 pages.
This study focused on the perceptions students have about the effectiveness of learning communities, a focus of the First-Year Success initiative at Texas A&M International University. Because many of our students are Hispanic and/or first generation college students, the traditional lecture based college classrooms may not be effective. This study employed a case-study focusing on one section of a Freshman Seminar class that was part of a learning community. Data was gathered using interviews and journals. Students perceived learning communities to be helpful because it enabled them to make friends more easily and feel more connected to the University, two things that have been shown to increase retention. Students also believed that the Freshman Seminar class taught them valuable skills that enabled them to be more successful in college. However, students did not perceive that an integrated curriculum nor the peer mentoring program as particularly useful. In order to improve the First-Year Success program, these issues must be addressed.

* LaSota, Robin R. Factors, Practices, and Policies Influencing Students' Upward Transfer to Baccalaurate-Degree Programs and Instituions: A Mixed Methods Analysis. Dissertation. University of Washington, 2013.
Utilizes an explanatory, sequential mixed-methods research design to assess factors influencing community college students' transfer probability to baccalaureate-granting institutions and to present promising practices in colleges and states directed at improving upward transfer, particularly for low-income and first-generation college students. First, the dissertation features multi-level random-effects model analyses to better understand how factors such as students' academic and social integration, community college characteristics and expenditures, and state transfer policy components influence community college students' 2/4 transfer probability over a recent six-year period (utilizing the Beginning Postsecondary Study 2003-2009).

* Lodhavia, Rajalakshmi. A descriptive study comparing GPA, retention and graduation of first-time, full-time, provisionally admitted first-generation college students and their peers. Dissertation, Wilmington University (Delaware), 2009, 127 pp.
This quantitative research study used ex post facto data to analyze possible relationships between a discrete set of independent variables and academic achievement among provisionally admitted students at a public, four-year historically black university located in the mid-Atlantic United States. The independent variables were first-generation status, race/ethnicity, credit hours attempted and earned and undergraduate GPA. In this study, undergraduate GPA was an indicator of academic achievement. Retention from first semester freshman year to second semester freshman year was a dependent variable. Inclusion criteria were used to identify a sample of 57 participants drawn form a cohort of 823 potential students. The population from which the sample was drawn for this study consisted of students admitted to the fall 2002 cohort. Because of the small sample size and nature of the variables included in the study, chi-square test and independent sample t tests were chosen as the method for data analysis. None of the independent variables were found to be statistically significant in influencing GPA, graduation rates or retention. However, an incidental finding did show the amount of Pell Grant received among first-generation college students was significant at the 0.10 significance level.

Logan, Kaitlin. Creating a Transition Program for First-generation College Students. Thesis. Dept. of Educational Studies, Ball State University, 2013.
The purpose of this study was to assist in the transition from high school to college for firstgeneration college students by creating a five-week program to educate these students on expectations of their collegiate experience. Additionally this project included workshops on services and opportunities available such as financial aid and campus life. The goal of this project was to decrease institutional departure of first-generation college students by increasing their knowledge of collegiate life. First-generation college students are an increasingly large population of students on college and university campuses. Because of that, faculty and staff need to meet the needs of these students by aiding in their transition to college. Through this workshop series, and the additional faculty mentorship program, students will be more prepared to navigate their collegiate experience, as well as have an increased understanding of the services and departments that are available to assist them.

* Lohfink, Mandy Martin and Michael B. Paulsen. Comparing the Determinants of Persistence for First-Generation and Continuing-Generation Students. Journal of College Student Development, vol. 46, issue 4 (Jul-Aug 2005), pp. 409-428.
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 over represented 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.

* London, Howard B. How College Affects First-Generation Students. About Campus, vol. 1 issue 5 (Nov-Dec 1996), pp. 9-13, 23. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
Drawing on a multiyear research project, describes the intellectual, psychological, familial, and cultural dramas that are played out in the lives of first-generation college students. Examines the effects of these dramas on students and what colleges can do to help students play them out.

* Longwell-Grice, Rob and Hope Longwell-Grice, Testing Tinto: How Do Retention Theories Work for First-Generation, Working-Class Students? Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, vol. 9, issue 4 (2007-2008), pp. 407-420.
This article presents results of a multiple case study involving four first-generation, working-class, white male college freshmen who discuss their perceptions of faculty support. These perceptions are analyzed using Tinto's theories of student retention, specifically as they relate to faculty-student interaction. The study found that first-generation, working-class students are intimidated by the idea of seeking out faculty for support, resulting in a lack of support from their faculty. Since Tinto's theories find a strong link between faculty support and student retention, this study suggests that colleges need to be more strategic and systematic in finding ways to develop faculty-student interactions for first-generation, working-class college students.

* Lumina Foundation for Education. Calculating Cost-Return for Investments in Student Success, 2010.
In late 2007, Jobs for the Future (JFF), working with the Delta Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity and Accountability, launched "Investing in Student Success", a one-year pilot program. The pilot, conceived of as part of the "Making Opportunity Affordable" initiative and funded by Walmart Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education, focused on exploring whether first-year programs designed to retain students are a cost-effective investment for colleges and universities. JFF and the Delta Project recruited 13 colleges and universities to participate in Investing in Student Success. Each institution had student success programs considered effective at serving freshman students, especially low-income, first-generation, at-risk college students. The project's goal was to develop, test, and standardize tools that document the relationship between program costs and student results. The feature product of the pilot is the ISS Cost-Return Calculator, a tool that can help campus and program administrators compare the costs of student success programs to the programs' impact on student retention.

* McCurrie, Matthew Kilian. Measuring Success in Summer Bridge Programs: Retention Efforts and Basic Writing, Journal of Basic Writing, vol. 28, issue 2 (Fall 2009), pp. 28-49.
The current economic and political environment has increased the pressure on higher education to deliver education that is cost-effective, standardized, and accessible. Summer bridge programs have traditionally been one of the economical ways to increase the access and retention of non-traditional, first-generation, or at-risk students. Retention efforts like summer bridge programs often require the collaboration of administrators and basic writing instructors who each may possess a different set of values and priorities. This article examines how administrators, basic writing instructors, and students define a successful summer bridge experience and how varying definitions of success influence programmatic revision. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

* Mahan, David M. The Four-Year Experience of First-Generation Students at a Small Independent University: Engagement, Student Learning, and Satisfaction. Dissertation. Department of Leadership, Foundations and Human Resource Education, University of Louisville, 2010.
This dissertation explored the four-year college experience of first-generation and continuing-generation students at a small private institution. Using Astin's I-E-O model (1970), the following variables in the student experience were considered: precollege student characteristics (input); engagement in academic experiences, cocurricular activities, campus relationships (environment); and satisfaction, learning (outcome). The results of this single institution study did not support previous literature showing first-generation students high-risk, a characteristic which can influence retention, satisfaction, and learning. The most significant finding from this project was the positive influence of campus relationships on seniors' satisfaction, regardless of parents' education level.

* Mamiseishvili, Ketevan. Effects of employment on persistence of low-income, first-generation college students, College Student Affairs Journal (September 2010) pp. 65-74.
The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of employment on first-to-second-year persistence of low-income, first-generation college students. Using the data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/06), the analysis indicated that the role orientation to academics versus to work was the strongest predictor of persistence in the study. Consistent with Warren's (2002) primary orientation model, this finding suggested that working students who perceived college as their priority and the primary role were more likely to persist, no matter how much time and energy they devoted to working, or how many or what kind of jobs they held. The study highlights the importance of keeping working students motivated, satisfied, and engaged in college to make sure that they do not turn to work as a more worthwhile and relevant undertaking than their academic pursuits.

* Martinez, Julia A., Kenneth J. Sher, Jennifer L. Krull, and Phillip K. Wood. Blue-Collar Scholars?: Mediators and Moderators of University Attrition in First-Generation College StudentsJournal of College Student Development, vol. 50, issue 1 (Jan-Feb 2009), pp. 87-103.
Moderators and mediators of the effect of parental education on attrition were investigated in 3,290 students over four 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.

* Materón-Arum, Esther, "How Honors Programs Can Assist in the Transition of Gifted First-Generation and African American College Students," in Setting the Table for Diversity, Lisa L Coleman and  Jonathan D Kotinek. Lincoln, NE : National Collegiate Honors Council, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2010, pp. 99-114. Requires Interlibrary Loan.

* Morales, Erik E. Learning as Liberation: How Liberal Arts Education Transforms First-Generation/Low Socio-Economic College Students, Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, vol. 13, issue 4 (2011-2012), pp. 499-518.
Extensive qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 first-generation college students. Profound changes to the students resulting from exposure to academic liberal arts course content were documented. Specifically, this study explores evident thematic trends and specific examples of how liberal arts course work provided students with profound senses of freedom and liberation from emotional/psychological issues and ideological/political constraints. Exactly how exposure and learning resulted in these changes, and what these changes mean to the individual students, is explored in detail. What faculty can do to more effectively teach and retain these students is also discussed.

* Morales, Erik E. Legitimizing Hope: An Exploration of Effective Mentoring for Dominican American Male College Students, Journal of College Student Retention, vol. 11, issue 3 (2009/2010), pp. 385-406.
A study examined the informal mentoring relationships of 15 male, Hispanic, first-generation college pupils to see how their experiences affected their academic progress, retention, and standing. Data were collected from in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews of 15 undergraduates from a comprehensive, public urban university. Findings showed that the mentors were valuable social capital for these statistically at-risk pupils by giving them with insider academic information, legitimizing their academic and professional goals, and changing their immigration experiences into academic inspiration.

* Mussey, Season Shelly, Ed.D. Navigating the transition to college: First-generation undergraduates negotiate identities and search for success in STEM and non-STEM fields. University of California, San Diego, 2009, 260 pp.
Historically, racial and ethnic minority students from low income backgrounds have faced unequal access to colleges and universities. Recently, both K-12 and higher education institutions, specifically the University of California, in response to Proposition 209, have made efforts to increase access and opportunities for all students. Similarly, female minority students are underrepresented in selected science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors and careers. Using a qualitative research design, this study investigates how first generation, low income, underrepresented minority students who graduated from an innovative college preparatory high school enact coping strategies that they were explicitly taught to achieve success within the context of university science and math courses. The presence of a unique, college-prep high school on the campus of UC San Diego, which accepts exclusively low-income students through a randomized lottery system, creates an unusual opportunity to study the transition from high school to college for this population, a cohort of underrepresented students who were taught similar academic coping strategies for success in college. This study aims to understand how students develop their college-going, academic identities within the context of their colleges and universities. Furthermore, this study intends to understand the phenomenon of "transition to college" as a lived experience of first-generation, low income, minority students, who all share a similar college preparatory, high school background. The main research questions are: (1) How do underrepresented students experience the transition from a college preparatory high school to college? (2) How are students developing their college-going, academic identities in the context of their educational institutions? and (3) What factors support or constrain student participation and success in college science courses? Twenty-eight students participated in this study. Based on surveys and individual interviews with the participants, twenty student narratives were written and analyzed. The students' narratives provide a picture of how these underrepresented students are experiencing the transition to college. In this sample, five factors impact the students' college-going academic identity development, major choice, and career path: (1) college preparation in high school, (2) self-efficacy, (3) success in college academics, (4) affinity group participation, and (5) interaction with college faculty.

* Oldfield, Kenneth. Still Humble and Hopeful: Two More Recommendations on Welcoming First-Generation Poor and Working-Class Students to CollegeAbout Campus, vol. 17, issue 5 ( Nov-Dec 2012), pp. 2-13.
In 2007, "About Campus" published the author's article "Humble and Hopeful: Welcoming First-Generation Poor and Working-Class Students to College." It has been used as a handout in various student orientations, included as a chapter in Teresa Heinz Housel and Vickie Harvey's "The Invisibility Factor: Administrators and Faculty Reach Out to First-Generation College Students," and cited in several other publications and academic works. The author framed that article as "six lessons I wish I had known before going to college." His intention was to help students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds appreciate the unique challenges people of humble origins face when encountering the financially, socially, and academically challenging world of higher learning. Following up on his 2007 "About Campus" article, the author shares six more lessons he wishes he had known as a working-class, first-generation college student and argues that higher education should pay more attention to first-generation and class status among students, faculty, and staff. (Contains 15 notes.)

* Overton-Healy, Julia, First-Generation College Seniors: A Phenomenological Exploration of the Transitional Experience of the Final College Year, Dissertation, Dept. of Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2010.
This study investigated the transitional experience of college seniors who are also first-generation status. The Adult Transition Theory (Schlossberg, 1984) was used as the theoretical framework. A phenomenological approach was used, and the data collection incorporated individual and dyadic (two-interviewee) interviews. Data were analyzed using horizontalization, semantic repetitions, and frequency counting, resulting in the identification of organizing themes. Results indicate that certain archetypal experiences exist which help to define the transitional experience for this population and included (1) receiving institutional and formal communications regarding commencement; (2) engaging in focused post-college pursuits; and (3) changing personal relationships. It was also discovered certain mechanisms were used to make meaning of the phenomenon, such as (1) closure behaviors, (2) acknowledging emotions, (3) changing self label or identity, and (4) assuming a leadership role in the family.

* Pagnac, Susan. The Perceptions They Carried: First-Generation College Students and First-Year Communication Courses as a Site of Transition. Dissertation, English Department, Iowa State Universkity, 2013.
First- and second-year communication classes play an important part in a student's first year of college, a year that is critical to student success because it helps students develop "the college student role" (Collier and Morgan 425). One group of first-year students at risk for struggling with developing "the college student role" is first-generation college students. Like most students, first-generation students harbor certain perceptions about and expectations for college; however, these perceptions and expectations can have a negative impact on a first-generation student's first year of college. This dissertation reports the results of a primary study of first-generation college student participants, their perceptions about college and their generational status, and how that generational status impacts the first- and second- year communication classroom experience.

* Pratt, Phillip A. and C. Thomas Skaggs. First Generation College Students: Are They at Greater Risk for Attrition than Their Peers? Research in Rural Education, vol. 6, issue 2 (1989), pp. 31-34. Available in the journal section of the Education Library.
Among 1,035 full-time college freshmen surveyed during their first week of classes, first-generation students reported stronger institutional commitments but did not differ from their peers in goal commitment, self-rated academic ability, or predispositions to academic or social integration.

Pym, June. Surfacing Possibilities: What It Means to Work with First-generation Higher Education Students. Champaign, IL: Common Ground, 2013. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
Case study of an effective education development initiative at a South African university. It focuses on the challenges faced by first generation undergraduate students who come from a diversity of linguistic, social, and cultural backgrounds and have often experienced disadvantage. This new generation of students calls for different directions in teaching, learnings, and support; the focus is on harnessing student agency rather than working with a deficit model. The varied contributions in this book recognise the need to work at multiple levels throughout the degree and describe the diverse and innovative ways in which these challenges have been addressed. 

* Radomski, Teresa. Perceptions of Support, Likelihood of Retention, and Differences Between Places of Origin Among First-Generation College Students. University of Kentucky Master's Theses. 2011.
First-generation college students are less likely to attend and complete college than their peers whose parents have completed college. Among the reasons cited for this disparity is lack of parental familiarity of the college admissions process and financial aid opportunities. First-generation youth wishing to pursue a college education must rely on others for this knowledge. This study examines first-generation college students' perceptions of support and whether their places of origin have any bearing on their future plans. The study examines interviews with participants through the lens of Tinto's (1993) model of student departure to examine whether their responses, and whether their places of origin, point toward likelihood of student retention. This study finds that students cite parents and high school faculty and staff as most supportive when preparing for college. After arriving in college, there are no differences among students based on place of origin and likelihood of retention. Participation in a retention program appears to help the students meet the criteria for student retention as outlined by Tinto's model.

* Results and Reflections: An Evaluation Report. Indiana's Twenty-First Century Scholars Program: A State-Wide Story with National Implications, Lumina Foundation for Education, 2008. 48 pp.
This report summarizes three separate evaluative research projects, which address different but related aspects of Indiana's Twenty-first Century Scholars program, a state-supported effort to promote pre-college preparation and postsecondary access for low-income students. Considered collectively, the studies support the following assertions: (1) the Scholars program promotes enrollments and success in academically challenging high school coursework among low-income and first-generation students; (2) the Scholars program allows participating students and families to view college as a real possibility; (3) Relationships forged through the program are reported by students, families and staff to yield personal and academic benefit beyond college enrollment; (4) Although a growing number of Indiana colleges and universities now provide targeted support services for Twenty-first Century Scholars, availability varies widely between campuses and few institutions have developed Scholar-specific programs to ease transition into and bolster success in college; (5) Schools and institutions are challenged by a lack of current identification and tracking data; and (6) Despite program limitations, its component elements of pre-college service/preparation, financial aid, and targeted academic/social supports make a measurable difference in improving the success rate of low-income and first-generation students. Recommendations are offered for improving practice and policies.

* Scaramuzzo, Gail B., Ph.D. A phenomenological study of the perceptions of first generation female students who have successfully completed a two-year college degree program. Capella University, 2009, 110 pp.
During the past thirty years, retention and how it applies to first-generation college students has been thoroughly studied. However, although there is abundant research regarding this cohort and the barriers intrinsic to degree attainment, investigation of the success for an ever-growing sub-group in this cohort, (first-generation females), is limited. The classic first-generation college student retention researchers have investigated first-generation college students' experiences and have discovered the distinct disadvantages these students encounter regarding the college matriculation process. Some of these disadvantages include, but are not limited to, socio-economic status, lack of familial support, time constraints, family responsibilities, lack of financial support, lack of access to educational information, and lack of self-efficacy. Other researchers have conducted studies specific to African-American and socio-economically deprived groups within this first-generation student category; however, there are very few studies that are specific to one of the most rapidly growing sub-groups, the first-generation, female college student. Although this group is becoming the largest representative group of first-generation students in the two-year or community college setting, it is underserved because the studies that have been completed provide a "one size fits all" solution to the problems encountered by all first generation students. Since women are enrolling in college at a more rapid rate than ever, it is incumbent upon educators to create an arena for success rather than failure for this population.

* Schultz, Patrick F., Upon Entering College: First Semester Experiences of First-Generation Rural Students from Agricultural Families, Rural Educator, vol. 26, issue 1 (Fall 2004), pp. 48-51.
First-generation and rural college students are considered by many retention theorists and practitioners to be an at-risk population. This study examined the details of the first semester in postsecondary education from the perspective of a group of students who met the demographic criteria of being first-generation to go to college, from rural geographical areas, and from agricultural backgrounds. It focused on the first semester experience, during its occurrence, and how six students of this specific population viewed that phenomenon. A secondary objective was to determine if the understandings that issued from the research could form a foundation from which first semester retention strategies for this particular population could be configured.

* Sherfield, Robert M. and Patricia G. Moody. Cornerstones for First Generation Learners. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2013. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
Designed to address the specific needs of first generation students and offer confidence and comfort to those who are unsure of what to expect. It provides advice on how to communicate and seek support from family, friends, community, and peers. First generation students are taught how to utilize on-campus organizations, counseling/academic centers, and service learning. They are given information to help manage finances, set priorities, and improve listening skills, reading ability, note taking, and test preparation skills. It also guides first generation learners on how to overcome negative emotions, doubts, and lack of basic skills. Most importantly, first generation students are coached to be resourceful, practice resilience, and focus on achieving their goals.

* Sinacore, Ada L. and Sasha Lerner. The Cultural and Educational Transitioning of First Generation Immigrant Undergraduate Students in Quebec, Canada, International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, vol. 13, issue 1 (Mar 2013), pp. 67-85.
The diversity of Canadian society and the significance of education for occupational mobility have prompted investigations into immigrant's educational attainment, yet little research examines immigrant post-secondary students. This phenomenological study illuminates the institutional, societal, educational, and psychosocial barriers facing immigrant undergraduates in Quebec, and examines their mentoring and career counselling needs. Recommendations for career counselling and university programming are discussed.

* Skinner, Elizabeth Fisk and Richard C. Richardson, Jr. Making It in a Majority University: The Minority Graduate's Perspective. Change, vol. 20, issue 3 (May-Jun 1988), pp. 34-42.
Four profiles for success in minority degree achievement are examined: well-prepared, second-generation college students with commitment to higher education; first-generation students with a belief in education; first- and second-generation students who questioned the value of education; and first-generation students who never intended to go to college.

* Soria, Krista M. and Michael J. Stebleton. First-Generation Students' Academic Engagement and Retention, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 17, issue 6, pp. 673-685 2012. Currently requires Interlibrary Loan. Available electronically July-August, 2013, through the title link.
This study investigates differences in academic engagement and retention between first-generation and non-first-generation undergraduate students. Utilizing the Student Experience in the Research University survey of 1864 first-year students at a large, public research university located in the United States, this study finds that first-generation students have lower academic engagement (as measured by the frequency with which students interacted with faculty, contributed to class discussions, brought up ideas from different courses during class discussions, and asked insightful questions in class) and lower retention as compared to non-first-generation students. Recommendations that higher education faculty can follow to promote the academic engagement and retention of first-generation students are addressed. (Contains 5 tables.)

* Striplin, Jenny J. Facilitating Transfer for First-Generation Community College Students. ERIC Digest. 1999.
This digest discusses the challenges facing first-generation students, and offers strategies for helping them to transfer to four-year institutions. A first-generation community college student attends a community college, and his or her parents have not obtained a college degree. Large waves of immigration have affected community colleges; many of these incoming students who enter the higher education system experience difficult cultural transitions. Upward mobility is the primary goal of most of these full-time first-generation college students. Academic and social challenges are often compounded for first-generation students because of family resistance to cultural and academic acclimation, which alienates these students from family support and financial resources. The struggle for first-generation students to transfer is intensified by the prevalence of poor academic preparation and low socioeconomic levels. First-generation students are often placed in vocational, technical, and/or remedial programs that impede their progress toward transfer. To increase the overall rate of transfer, enhanced counseling and advising services, as well as faculty advising, have been effective. At one college, enrollment of first generation students in Coordinated Studies Programs is also helpful in facilitating transfer. Clarification of current articulation agreements can ease the movement from two- to four-year colleges. As high-risk students, first-generation community college students require special attention, with strategies to work with that will facilitate transfer.

* Swecker, Hadyn K. Academic Advising Contact and Retention of First-generation College Students at a Research University in the Southeast. Dissertation. University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2011.
Student retention is an area of concern both academically and financially for higher education institutions. With the state of the current economy, finances are a critical component to higher education institutions. Retention rates, in addition to graduation rates, are used for assessing the overall success of an institution and in some instances future funding. According to Schneider (2010), only 60% of undergraduate students matriculate from four-year institutions within six years of initial enrollment. One population, first-generation college students, are 1.3 times more likely than their non-first-generation peers to leave an institution during their first year of college (Ishitani, 2006). The purpose of this study was to intentionally examine the retention of an at-risk population, first-generation college students. Quantitative analysis of multiple logistic regression was used to investigate the relationship of retention of first-generation college students and number of academic advisor appointments along with gender, race and major. The theoretical framework for this study was comprised of three student retention models including: (a) Interactionalist Theory of College Student Departure (Tinto, 1987), (b) Theory of Involvement (Astin, 1984, 1999), and (c) Bean and Eaton’s Psychological Model of Student Retention (Bean & Eaton, 2000). The results of this research are intended to fill the gap in the literature for first-generation college students related to advising and student retention. The results indicated that the model’s goodness-of-fit was not as strong of an indicator for first-generation college student retention, and the variables of gender, race and major were not significant. However, the variable of number of advisor meetings was significant in the equation. Academic advising is a significant component in the retention of first-generation college students. The results of the research are intended to inform upper level administrators, deans, advising centers and retention specialists of emerging trends related to working with first-generation college students. Specifically, the findings should help decisionmakers as they plan, implement, and assess programs and resources for first-generation college students and the importance of utilizing, supporting and training of academic advisors.

* Thayer, Paul B. Retaining First Generation and Low Income Students. Opportunity Outlook, May 2000, pp. 2-8.
This article reviews recent literature related to student retention. Since students from first generation and low income backgrounds are among the least likely to be retained through degree completion, institutional retention efforts must take the needs of such students into account if more equitable educational attainment rates are desired.

* Thayer, Paul B. Retention of Students from First Generation and Low Income Backgrounds. Research Informing Practice Short Paper, 2000.
This paper, the third in a series of Research Informing Practice Short Papers commissioned by the National TRIO Clearinghouse, reviews some of the recent literature related to student retention in higher education, with particular emphasis on factors affecting students from low income and first generation backgrounds. According to the paper, this emphasis was chosen for two reasons. First, because students from first generation and low income backgrounds are among the least likely to be retained through degree completion, institutional retention efforts must take the needs of such students into account if more equitable educational attainment rates are desired. Second, strategies that work for first generation and low income students are likely to be successful for the general student population, as well. By contrast, strategies that are designed for general campus populations without taking into account the special circumstances and characteristics of first generation and low income students will not often be successful for the latter. After describing theoretical models of retention, special characteristics of these students, and retention efforts addressing them, the paper concludes by recommending promising strategies for implementation by Student Support Services programs, McNair programs, and other programs addressing the needs of these students. It suggests that structured first-year and learning community programs respond in practical ways to established retention theory and to the specific needs and characteristics of students from low income and first generation backgrounds.

* Tyler, Margaret Daniels and Karen Y. Johns. From First-generation College Student to First Lady. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, vol. 25 issue 25 (January 22, 2009), p. 19.
The writers provide several suggestions for increasing the number of low-income students who successfully graduate from college. Educators should ensure students graduate from high school "college-ready" by providing access to quality after-school programs, close the achievement gap by addressing the preparation gap, and let students know that college choice is extremely important.

* Vuong, Mui, Sharon Brown-Welty and Susan Tracz. The Effects of Self-Efficacy on Academic Success of First-Generation College Sophomore Students. Journal of College Student Development, vol. 51, issue 1 (January/February 2010), pp. 50-64.

* Warburton, Edward C., Rosio Bugarin and Anne-Marie Nunez. Bridging the Gap: Academic Preparation and Postsecondary Success of First-Generation Students. Education Statistics Quarterly, vol. 3, issue 3 (Fall 2001), pp. 73-77.
Focused on how the high school preparation of first-generation students (i.e., students whose parents did not attend college) related to these students' performance and persistence at 4-year colleges. Compared these students with their peers whose parents graduated from college. Parents' levels of education were associated with student retention and persistence in college.

* Ward, Lee; Michael J. Siegel; and Zebulun Davenport. First-generation college students: Understanding and Improving the Experience from Recruitment to Commencement. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, 2012. 147 pages.
Contents: 1. Who Are First-Generation Students? 2. Transition into College 3. Transition Through College 4. Class, Culture, Race, and Ethnicity 5. Transforming How We Work with First-Generation Students 6. A Holistic Approach to Student Success.

* Wawrzynski, Matthew R. and Jody E. Jessup-Anger, "From Expectations to Experiences: Using a Structural Typology to Understand First-Year Student Outcomes in Academically Based Living-Learning Communities," Journal of College Student Development, Vol. 51, issue 2 (March/April 2010), pp. 201-217.

* Weggel, Anna. In Seattle, a Firsthand Lesson in College Access, The Education Digest, vol. 73, issue 8 (April 2008) pp. 28-31.
An article condensed from the December 14, 2007, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. A program conceived by a University of Washington freshman puts students in the role of admission counselors at local high schools. The Dream Project teaches undergraduates about higher-education policy at the same time that they assist disadvantaged high-school students in applying to college. The program pairs students at the university with first-generation and low-income students in six Seattle high schools. The college students assist the high-schoolers in preparing for the SAT, filling out college applications, and applying for scholarships. Unlike many similar programs, the Dream Project is paired with a course on its campus. Students study matters of social justice, educational opportunity, and socioeconomic mobility. The project hopes to send a message that the University of Washington is still attempting to recruit minority students nine years after the state's voters prohibited the use of racial preferences in public-university admissions.

* Weinstein, Lauren A. and Mandy Savitz-Romer. Planning for opportunity: applying organizational and social capital theories to promote college-going cultures. Educational Planning, vol. 18, issue 2 (2009), pp. 1-11. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
Preparing high school graduates for entry to and success in postsecondary education has become a cornerstone of U.S. society. For many middle- and upper-class students, familial expectations and support influence their college-going behavior and postsecondary outcomes: however, for low-income and first-generation students, secondary schools carry much of this responsibility. The literature on college access and success calls for new strategies to ensure equal access to a college degree for all students. One approach is for schools to foster a college-going culture, ensuring all students are exposed to the expectations, knowledge, and informational support necessary for postsecondary success. In doing so, schools fulfill their role as an opportunity structure. This promising, systemic practice requires deliberate school planning and structuring. In this article, we apply conceptual frameworks from social capital and organizational theories to the literature on college access and success to present a framework for school-planning efforts that foster a college-going culture. The paper concludes with specific recommendations for practice and future research.

* Wentling, David J. Student Organization Leadership Aspirations of First Generation Students Enrolled in a College Based First Semester University Academic Success Program. Thesis. Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, Texan A&M University, 2013. As of July 24, 2014, requires Interlibrary Loan.
The purpose of this study was to investigate student organization leadership aspirations of college students currently enrolled in a college-based first semester academic success program and the relationship with the student’s self-awareness leadership behavior. The study was structured with two research designs; phenomenological and quantitative. Five purposively selected students were interviewed using the semi-structured format. The methodology used for the quantitative study data was collected from two groups, academic success program participant (n=29) and academic success program non-participant (n=52) using an instrument comprised of a two part questionnaire investigating the students’ selection and enrollment with the academic success program and awareness of personal leadership behaviors with the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire-Ideal Self (LBDQ). A correlation analysis between participation, student organization leadership aspirations, knowledge and interest and students’ personal leadership behavior was done. The phenomenological study findings found that students did not develop student organization leadership aspirations through their participation in the academic success program. Each student’s priority was their academic achievement over organization participation. The quantitative study found that students who participated in the academic success program had higher aspirations than non-participants. There was not a statistically significant difference for participants versus non participants and their scores for each scale of the LBDQ. A leadership component should be implemented in the academic success program curriculum. This would allow students to maintain the priority of their academic performance while also developing leadership awareness and skills.

* Wohlgemuth, Darin, Don Whalen, Julia Sullivan, Carolyn Nading, Mack Shelley and Yongyi (Rebecca) Wang. Financial, Academic, and Environmental Influences on the Retention and Graduation of Students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, vol. 8, issue 4 (2006-2007), pp. 457-475.
Regression analysis was used to study retention and graduation for the fall 1996 entering class of students at a midwestern research extensive university (n = 3,610; 44% female, 8% minority, 77% in-state). Logistic regression was used to predict the likelihood of a student being retained for each of four years, and the outcome of graduation at the end of years four, five, and six. Odds ratios were employed to provide insight into the relative contribution of demographic characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, in-state residency), ability (high school rank, high school rank[squared], ACT score), environmental (university athlete, university honors program, first-generation student, entering college), and financial aid data (gift, loan, and work-study) characteristics. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)

* Wright, Stephen L., Michael A. Jenkins-Guarnieri, and Jennifer L. Murdock, "Career Development among First-Year College Students: College Self-Efficacy, Student Persistence, and Academic Success," Journal of Career Development, vol. 40, issue 4 (August 2013), pp. 292-310. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
The authors sought to understand the potential role of college self-efficacy in first-year student persistence and academic success at a medium size university. Using a final sample of 401 undergraduates, regression analyses suggested that increased levels of college self-efficacy at the first semester's end were associated with greater odds of persisting into the Spring semester and of being academically successful, after controlling for gender, ethnicity, first-generation status, high school grade point average (GPA), and initial level of college self-efficacy.

* Yeh, Theresa Ling. Service-Learning and Persistence of Low-Income, First-Generation College Students: An Exploratory Study, Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, vol. 16, issue 2 (Spr 2010),  pp. 50-65.
Low-income students who are the first in their family to attend college continue to drop out at alarmingly high rates. Previous studies have shown that service-learning can have a positive influence on student retention. However, little research exists to explore how low-income, first-generation (LIFG) college students experience service-learning, and how it might impact their persistence in higher education. This article presents findings from a qualitative study of the service-learning experiences of six LIFG students, with the aim of generating an in-depth understanding of how these experiences may have contributed to the students' persistence in college. Implications for future research are discussed. (Contains 1 figure.)

* York, Travis. Exploring Service-learning Outcomes and Experiences for Low-income, First-generation College Students: a Mixed Methods Approach. Dissertation. Higher Education Program, Pennsylvania State University, 2013. As of July 24, 2014, requires Interlibrary Loan.
Four primary conclusions result from the synthesis of the findings of both phases: (1) LIFG students participate in service-learning at equal rates to the overall student population; (2) LIFG students’ participation in service-learning results from the combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and has little to do with pre-college characteristics; (3) service-learning participation has positive impacts on academic outcomes for LIFG student; and, (4) service-learning participation has positive impacts on affective outcomes LIFG student. These conclusions have implications most readily for institutional and classroom practice, but also for policy and research. Finally, the findings of this study highlight continuing gaps in our knowledge on this topic, and subsequently include a discussion of future directions for inquiry. Suggested areas of future research include extending the current research to a variety of institutional contexts; continued investigation of the unique learning and developmental needs of LIFG students and the ways in which curricular strategies may be employed to meet those needs; and, exploration into the impact of service-learning participation on persistence for students who transfer from community colleges to 4-year institutions.