Presentation Title

The Value of a College Education: First Generation College Students Perceptions

Location

Room 2908

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Humanities & Social Sciences - Psychology, Sociology & Political Science

Co-Presenters, Co- Authors, Co-Researchers, Mentors, or Faculty Advisors

Dr. April Schueths, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Faculty Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Ted Brimeyer, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Committee Member/ Advisor

Dr, Bryan Miller, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice; Committee Member.

Abstract

Previous studies indicate that first-generation status negatively affects students academic preparation and persistence in college (Warburton, Bugarin, & Nuñez, 2011). The lack of rigorous preparation in high school is prevalent amongst first generation college students compared to their peers whose parents graduated from college. Studies show that students who were well prepared for postsecondary education were very likely to persist in 4-year institutions .

Framed by Social capital theory (Singh & Dika, 2003), 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. Social capital is an appropriate framework for this study because it examines whether having access to different people in one’s social network affects students personal development. In order to explore this, I must better understand undergraduate students perceived benefits and rewards for attending college. As well as examine whether their expectations of future success align with their methods of preparation for life after college. Methods of preparation include attending job fairs, applying for internships, networking, and attending conferences.

My research will use qualitative methods to contextualize the perceptions of undergraduate student’s education at a University in the Southeastern United States (Georgia Southern University). I interviewed 12 first generation undergraduate college students; 3 males and 9 females. Preliminary results indicate that first generation students value the guidance and advice given from teachers and professors in their field, due to not having parents or immediate family members who have gone to college. Preliminary results also suggest that the majority of first generation students are unaware of how to prepare for life after college during college. Few students have researched the job market or required skills for their field.

The outcome of this study has the potential to provide Universities with information on how they can further assist first-generation college students throughout their college journey to increase their chances of graduating and achieving social, cultural, and economic success after graduation.

Keywords

First generation college student, Preparation strategies, Social capital, Cultural capital, Economic capital, Student perceptions, College student, Value of college education, Social network

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-24-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 5:00 PM

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Apr 24th, 4:00 PM Apr 24th, 5:00 PM

The Value of a College Education: First Generation College Students Perceptions

Room 2908

Previous studies indicate that first-generation status negatively affects students academic preparation and persistence in college (Warburton, Bugarin, & Nuñez, 2011). The lack of rigorous preparation in high school is prevalent amongst first generation college students compared to their peers whose parents graduated from college. Studies show that students who were well prepared for postsecondary education were very likely to persist in 4-year institutions .

Framed by Social capital theory (Singh & Dika, 2003), 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. Social capital is an appropriate framework for this study because it examines whether having access to different people in one’s social network affects students personal development. In order to explore this, I must better understand undergraduate students perceived benefits and rewards for attending college. As well as examine whether their expectations of future success align with their methods of preparation for life after college. Methods of preparation include attending job fairs, applying for internships, networking, and attending conferences.

My research will use qualitative methods to contextualize the perceptions of undergraduate student’s education at a University in the Southeastern United States (Georgia Southern University). I interviewed 12 first generation undergraduate college students; 3 males and 9 females. Preliminary results indicate that first generation students value the guidance and advice given from teachers and professors in their field, due to not having parents or immediate family members who have gone to college. Preliminary results also suggest that the majority of first generation students are unaware of how to prepare for life after college during college. Few students have researched the job market or required skills for their field.

The outcome of this study has the potential to provide Universities with information on how they can further assist first-generation college students throughout their college journey to increase their chances of graduating and achieving social, cultural, and economic success after graduation.