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Literature on FGCS Success

This list of peer-reviewed articles is available to members of our University community and beyond as a resource on the national literature on retention. We are committed to maintaining this list and adding to it in the future.

Abstract Points of Interest
Alessandria, K. & Nelson, E. (2005). Identity development and self-esteem of first-generation American college students: An exploratory study. Journal of College Student Development, 46(1), 3-12. Based on Chickering’s model; differences in self-esteem and identity development among first-generation American  college and non first-generation students were examined.
Barry, L., Hudley, C., Kelly, M. & Cho., S. (2009). Differences in self-reported disclosure of college experiences by first-generation college student status. Adolescence, 44(173), 55-68 Disclosure of stressful college-related experiences and resources available to reduce stress.
Choy, S. (2001). Students whose parents did not go to college: Postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment. In J. Wirt, et al. (Eds.), The condition of education (pp. xviii-xliii). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Government Printing Office. College enrollment rates vary considerably with parents’ educational attainment.
Clauss-Ehlers, C. & Wibroski, C. (2007). Building educational resilience and social support:  The effects of the educational opportunity fund program among first- and second-generation college students. Journal of College Student Development, 48(5), 574-584. Educators and psychologists gain a better understanding of how to promote resiliency. Explores students’ resiliency in the face of economic, social and cultural barriers.
Collier, P. & Morgan D. (2008). Is that paper really due today?: Differences in first-generation and traditional college students’ understandings of faculty expectations. Higher Education. 55, 425-446 Master the “college student” role in order to understand instructors’ expectations and apply their academic skills.
Engle, J. & Tinto, V. (2008). Moving beyond access: College success for low-income, first-generation students. Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. What is beyond the surface of access to higher education?
Foster, B. L. (2015, April 9)  What is it like to be poor at an Ivy League School?  The Boston Globe.  Retrieved from An intimate look at the experience of students coming from poorer backgrounds at ivy league schools.
Ghazzawi, I. & Jagannathan, C. (2011).Bridging the gap: The role of outreach programs in granting college access to first generation students. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 15(1), 117-137 Programs that targets first-generation students to help bridge their path to college.
Giancola, J., Munz, D. & Trares, S. (2008). First- versus continuing-generation adult students on college perceptions: Are differences actually because of demographic variance? Adult Education Quarterly, 58(3),  214–228. Profile of changing students from first generation to continuing adult students.
Hahs-Vaughn, D. (2004). The impact of parents’ education level on college students: An analysis using the beginning post secondary students longitudinal study 1990-92/94. Journal of College Student Development, 45(5), 483-500. Expected highest level of education, entrance exam score, nonacademic experiences, and aspirations for education for first generation students.
Ishitani, T. (2003). A longitudinal approach to assessing attrition behavior among first-generation students:  time-varying effects of pre-college characteristics. Research in Higher Education. 44(4), 433-449. Unique challenges of first-generation students toward degree attainment.
Ishitani, T. (2006). Studying attrition and degree completion behavior among first-generation college students in the United States. The Journal of Higher Education, 77(5), 861-885. Why certain groups of individuals are less likely to attend and graduate from American institutions of higher education and less likely to enjoy the benefits.
Kim, Young K. & Sax, L. (2009). Student-faculty interaction in research universities:  Differences by student gender, race, social class, and first-generation status. Research in Higher Education, 50(5), 437-459. Does faculty-student interaction affect GPA, degree aspiration and critical thinking?
Kurotsuchi Inkelas, K., Daver, Z., Vogt, K. & Brown, J. (2007). Living-learning programs and first-generation college students’ academic and social transition to college. Research in Higher Education, 48(4), 403-434. Role of living-learning programs in facilitating first-generation students’ perceived academic and social transition to college.
Mamiseishvili, K. (2010). Effects of employment on persistence of low-income, first-generation college students. College Student Affairs Journal, 29(1), 65-74. The effects of employment on first to second-year persistence of low-income, first-generation college students.
Macias, L. V. (2013). Choosing Success: A paradigm for empowering first-generation college students.  About Campus. 18(5), 17-21. Louis V. Macias reminds us that educators’ attitudes toward first-generation students have a great impact on their eventual success … or failure. Are you serving the best interests of your students with an inspirational, success-oriented mind-set that considers all of their capabilities?
McCarron, G. & Inkelas, K. (2006). The gap between educational aspirations and attainment for first- generation college students and the role of parental involvement. Journal of College Student Development, 47(5), 534-549. Role of parental involvement and the connection between educational aspirations. Differences in educational attainment by race/ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status.
Owens, D., Lacey, K., Rawls, G. & Holbert-Quince, J. (2010). First-generation African American male college students:  Implications for career counselors. The Career Development Quarterly, 58, 291-300. Roadblocks and obstacles encountered by African American men toward upward mobility and economic success.
Pascarella, E., Pierson, C., Wolniak, G. & Terenzini, P. (2004). First-generation college students:  Additional evidence on college experiences and outcomes. Journal of Higher Education, 75(3), 249‑284. Differences between first generation and other college students’ experiences and outcomes.
Reason, R., Terezini, P., & Domingo, R. (2006). First things first:  Developing academic competence in the first year of college. Research in Higher Education, 47(2), 149-175. Two-thirds of the knowledge and college skill development occurs in the first 2 years of college. Identifying the individual, organizational, environmental, programmatic, and policy factors that shape academic competence.
Terenzini, P., Springer, L., Yaeger, P., Pascarella, E. & Nora, A. (1996). First-generation college students: Characteristics, experiences, and cognitive development. Research in Higher Education, 37(1), 1-22. Do the pre-college characteristics of first-generation students differ from those of traditional students?  Do first-generation students’ college experiences differ from those of other students?  What are the educational consequences of any differences on first-year gains in students’ reading, math, and critical-thinking abilities?
Vuong, M., Brown-Welty, S. & Tracz, S. (2010). The effects of self-efficacy on academic success of first-generation college sophomore students. Journal of College Student Development, 51(1), 50-64. Academic success and persistence rates between first-generation and second and beyond generation college sophomore students. Relationship between g.p.a. and persistence rates.
Wohn, D. Y.,  Ellison, N. B., Khan, M. L., Fewins-Bliss, R. & Gray, R. (April 2013).The role of social media in shaping first-generation high school students’ college aspirations: A social capital lens. Computers & Education, 63, 424-436. Retrieved from
This study used survey data from a diverse set of high school students (N = 504).  First-generations have less parental support than non first-generations.  Parents, close friends, and Facebook Friends play different roles in college aspirations. Seeking info on social media increased application efficacy for first-generations. Knowing someone who attended college on Facebook increased expectation of college success for first-generations.