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First Versus Non-First Generation Students: Determining Variables of Academic Success . Michelle Coffman Heather Osterman Hanover College. Differences between first generation and non-first generation.

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first versus non first generation students determining variables of academic success

First Versus Non-First Generation Students: Determining Variables of Academic Success

Michelle Coffman

Heather Osterman

Hanover College

differences between first generation and non first generation
Differences between first generation and non-first generation
  • First generation students “sometimes lack the rigorous academic preparation, family funding, and encouragement that others (non-first generation students) have” (Martin, 2007).
  • First generation students have different needs than non-first generation, and that these differences inhibit those students’ ability to succeed in college (Fallon, 1997).
why is this important
Why is this important?
  • Help understand differences and problems of first generation students.
  • Contribute to intervention programs
  • Help educational providers to understand problems, thereby improving overall academic success
terms
Terms
  • First generation student
    • student who neither parent has received a BA
  • Success
    • GPA and social adjustment
support factors
Support Factors
  • Support to go to college, post-college plans, finances, and financial support.
    • Parents, siblings, and friends are sources of support
parental emotional support
Parental Emotional Support
  • Parental support of first-generation students may be limited for various reasons (Duggan, 2001; Terenzini et al., 1996; Warburton et al., 2001 as cited in McCarron and Inkelas, 2006).
sibling emotional support
Sibling Emotional Support
  • Students whose parents have a college degree may also have more siblings attend college.
  • Students who have siblings who have college experience tend to have higher GPA than students who do not have siblings (Clark, 1927).
friend emotional support
Friend Emotional Support
  • Peers can be more helpful than parents in terms of specific challenges and finding resources (Rodriguez et al., 2003 as cited in Dennis et al., 2005).
parental financial support
Parental Financial Support
  • Parents who have a college degree may be better equipped to provide financial assistance to students.
  • The majority of first generation students tend to fall in the lowest socioeconomic status category (McCarron and Inkelas, 2006) .
hypotheses
Hypotheses
  • We expect that various support factors will be lower in first generation students than in non-first generation students.
  • We also predict that first generation students will be less successful as measured by GPA and social adjustment than their counterpart
participants
Participants
  • 136 Hanover College students
    • Contacted ADs and house directors through email
  • Age
    • 18-41
    • Avg. age = 21
  • Gender
    • 52 male; 84 female
  • Generation
    • 57 first generation; 79 non-first generation
material support factor questionnaire
Material—Support Factor Questionnaire
  • Questions about support factors
    • Parental emotional support (α =.83)
      • How likely are you to seek advice from parents about life stressor?
    • Sibling emotional support (α =.93)
      • How supportive were your siblings of your decision to go to college?
    • Friend emotional support (α =.86)
      • How supportive are your friends of your post- graduation plans?
    • Parental financial support
      • How much of your financial obligations do your parents pay for?
material student adaptation to college questionnaire
Material—Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire
  • Social Adjustment (α =.69)
    • I feel that I fit in well as part of the college environment.
method procedure
Method—Procedure
  • Online questionnaire
    • Informed consent
    • Demographics
    • Support Factor Questionnaire
    • Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire
    • Debriefing
results of gpa
Results of GPA
  • Independent T-test for GPA
    • t(133) = 2.22, p = .03
results social adjustment
Results—Social Adjustment
  • Factors predicting social adjustment (using linear regression):
    • Parental education: β= .24, t(133)= 3.21, p= .00
    • Friend support: β= .42, t(133)= 5.23, p= .00
    • Financial support: β= .19, t(133)= 2.30, p= .02
    • Parent support: β= .16, t(133)= 1.96, p= .05
    • Sibling support: β= -.10, t(133)= -1.21, p= .23
discussion
Discussion
  • We found that there were some differences between first and non-first generation students in terms of GPA.
    • Parental education was the only predictive support factor that was significant.
    • Study habits may already be formed in high school, so emotional support may not be predictive of GPA
    • There could be other predictive variables that have yet to be identified.
discussion18
Discussion
  • Our regression analyses suggest that parental education, parental financial assistance, parental emotional support, and friend emotional support are significant predictors of social adjustment.
    • By receiving emotional support from parents and friends, the student may be better equipped to make the transition from one social sphere to another
    • By receiving financial assistance, students may not have to get a job to support themselves, allowing more time to spend with new friends.
future research
Future Research
  • Expand research out to other colleges
    • Compare public colleges to private colleges
  • Define more variables of academic success
    • The linear regression suggests that there are differences other than emotional support
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Results do indicate that there are differences between first generation and non-first generation students
    • More academic assistance is needed for first generation students
  • Because there are inherent differences between these two groups of students, colleges should try to create programs designed to help first generation students to be more successful in college.