First-Generation College Students' Integration into Higher Education: A Case Study

Date
2021
Authors
Farrell-Felici, Colleen
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Abstract
First-generation college students face many challenges transitioning into school. The obstacles are overwhelming and the learners often drop out. The research included details relating to the difficulties facing the scholars and how college educators can address the needs. Understanding the concerns of first-generation college students is critical for the implementation of comprehensive programs to provide support for first-generation students. Appropriate support is not being put in place, and the problem is college educators do not understand first-generation college students’ burdens. An insufficient exploration of the issues surrounding institutional structures within the higher education community to support this population represents a gap in the literature. Tinto’s student retention theory and Burns’s transformational leadership theory served as the base of the study along with the instrumental case study. The purpose of the study was to examine the perspectives of the first-generation students and university representatives regarding the necessary interventions designed for learning. Research questions helped to identify the viewpoints of the scholars and set the foundation for all-inclusive plans. Included in the qualitative case study were 26 participants in total, 15 of whom were included in four small focus groups and 17 of whom participated in in-depth interviews. Program policy documents were reviewed as well. The analysis involved coding the information for themes and interpretations, which findings suggest providing a more collaborative system with comprehensive support for first-generation college students. Best practices for transformational changes were linked to maintaining sustainable relationships and integrating cultural competence for the learners.
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Keywords
First Generation College Students, Higher Education, Qualitative Study, Qualitative Case Study
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