Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


First-generation college students, First generation, College students


The fact that a significant number of first-generation students drop out of college within the first year speaks to the unique struggle that these students face. Although previous studies have looked at this phenomenon, not many have purposefully explored the experiences of the students themselves. This study sought to change that by interviewing 12 first-generation students on their experiences of college and what they believe has helped them to thrive. Several themes emerged throughout the study, including: 1) the idea of shared experiences and peer contact providing a sense of understanding as well as community; and 2) the idea of involvement within the community providing an increased feeling of support. Students also made distinct suggestions on ways colleges can improve their experiences. Further studies that specifically explore the trajectory and retention of students based on their involvement within the first generation community might be useful.




iii. 42 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 32-34)

Included in

Social Work Commons