Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

April Schueths

Committee Member 1

Ted Brimeyer

Committee Member 2

Bryan Miller


Framed by social and cultural capital theory, the purpose of this research is to better understand how first-generation college students perceive the value of their college education and to examine whether students’ methods of preparation for life after college are positioning them for successful futures, economically, culturally, and socially. Methods of preparation include attending job fairs, applying for internships, networking, and researching the job market and skills required for their field. As access for first-generation college students continues to increase it is important to assess how students can be socially positioned to excel throughout college and thereafter. My findings indict that first-generation college students greatly benefit from their social bonds with professors and mentors on campus (personal and academic). First-generation college students believe their education is priceless and are willing to accumulate large amounts of debt to obtain their degree. They also rate happiness as their number one definition of success, with the ability to be financially free, travel and support their families to follow.