ERIC Number: EJ957399
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 22
Understanding the First-Generation Student Experience in Higher Education through a Relational Dialectic Perspective
Lowery-Hart, Russell; Pacheco, George, Jr.
New Directions for Teaching and Learning, n127 p55-68 Fall 2011
As colleges and universities face pressure to expand enrollments and provide access to diverse students, they find it difficult to recruit and retain first-generation college students (FGS). First-generation college students are significantly less likely to graduate due to lack of family support, financial strains, poor academic preparation, and other barriers. These obstacles make it difficult for FGS to transition into college and graduate. In this article, the authors use relational dialectics theory to argue that first-generation college students often struggle with a give-and-take tension between getting involved in campus life and losing their familial and working-class identity. They suggest that because FGS straddle two different cultures of academia and home, institutions must address these tensions to improve the students' retention and graduate rates.
Descriptors: First Generation College Students, Student Characteristics, Student Attitudes, Family Characteristics, Socioeconomic Background, College Environment, Graduation Rate, Academic Persistence, School Holding Power, Student Adjustment, Barriers, Student Experience, Social Theories, Student College Relationship, Student Diversity, Cultural Differences, Grounded Theory, Focus Groups, Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A