Academic Persistence and Perceptions of Support in First-Generation College Students
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First-generation college students (FGCS) differ from their traditional college counterparts in terms of expectations for success, academic skills, and financial resources. As a result, the needs' of this population should be viewed with the utmost care, as their demands can be very different from the traditional college student. For example, a strong network of support is crucial in order to help FGCS transition into their college atmosphere. In the present study, ten FGCS participants in their third and fourth year were interviewed on their perceptions of support from their parents, peers, college faculty (i.e. professors) and their campus, in order to understand how their perceptions affect their persistence in college. Participants were recruited from a public high school in the west coast as well as from a liberal arts college in the Midwest. All participants were from a low-income and ethnic minority background. The interviews indicated that not only was support a crucial component that allowed FGCS continue to succeed, but also lacking support in one area (i.e. parents) led them to rely more heavily on another network of support (i.e. peers). Other factors determining persistence are also discussed.