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ERIC Number: ED548517
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 144
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-2459-4
Exploring the Experiences of Successful First-Generation Community College Students in Florida: A Qualitative Study
Patron, Iliana M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University
As jobs become more competitive and demanding of specialized training, the presence of first-generation college students will continue to be a growing reality. However, unless the needs of first-generation students are addressed by educational institutions, the motivation experienced by those students to attend college will be short-lived. Even though first-generation students face great obstacles and many of them do not succeed, others do succeed and are able to graduate, which leads to question what the reasons for their success are. This qualitative study explored first-generation students' perspectives on those factors that contributed to their college success. The main research question was: How do first-generation students explain their success in the community college? In addition, the following sub-questions helped answer the main question for this study: What do first-generation students identify as their reasons to attend college? What are the barriers perceived by first-generation students? What strategies were perceived as effective in overcoming barriers by first-generation students? The data collection method for this study consisted of nine, in-depth, semi-structured, individual interviews with first-generation community college students who were enrolled in their last requirements leading toward the completion of their associate's degree, or who recently completed their program. A phenomenological approach of inquiry was used to understand the meaning that first-generation college students have attached to their experiences. Bandura's theory of Self-Efficacy was utilized as a framework in the analysis of participants' responses to the interview questions. Three themes related to each of the three research questions were identified from participants' perspectives on their experiences as successful first-generation college students. Among the most significant findings, first-generation students reported avoiding experiencing hardships as a reason to attend college, lacking effective time-management and verbal communication skills as barriers, and choosing a major based on personal interests as an effective strategy in overcoming obstacles. Since the current literature focuses on the first-year experience of first-generation students attending four year institutions, this research contributes to better understanding the changes first-generation students need to make, such as developing study practices, improving communication, and limiting socialization both, within and beyond the community college setting, to achieve academic success. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida