Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Shaunna Scott

Abstract

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.

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