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ERIC Number: ED579232
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 66
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-0-3551-9098-4
Success of First-Generation College Students in a Selective Doctor of Optometry Program
Joyce, Sharon T.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
What happens when former first-generation college (FGC) students successfully graduate from college and then aim for post-undergraduate education? The purpose of this dissertation is to compare differences between FGC students and non-FGC admissions profiles regarding end-of-first-year performance at UC Berkeley's School of Optometry. The aims of this research project were to a) compare academic performance of FGC and non-FGC students based on GPAs from the end of their first professional school year, and b) examine the relationships among gender, ethnicity, participation in pre-optometry preparatory programs, undergraduate GPA, undergraduate institutional selectivity, Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) scores, and end-of-year GPAs within these two populations. In 2011, all current students at UC Berkeley's School of Optometry were asked to participate in this research study; surveys from 233 students were collected. A P-value of <0.05 was considered significant for all statistical tests. Comparison of Optometry Degree (OD) GPA as an overall academic performance of optometry academics showed no statistical difference between FGC and non-FGC students (p = 0.37). Also, comparison of underrepresented status noted no significant difference between FGC and non- FGC students (p = 0.20). Self-reported ethnicity (p = 0.04), Carnegie Classification Tier (p = 0.001) and attendance at Opto-Camp, a preparatory program offered prior to entering the OD program (p = 0.04), were all significant and associated with a lower OD GPA. Finally, the correlation of Undergraduate GPA and Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) AA Score with OD GPA was examined; undergraduate GPA had a significant positive correlation (r = 0.33) with OD GPA (p = 0.0001). OAT AA Score also had a significant positive correlation (r = 0.38) with OD GPA (p = 0.0001). While this study is encouraging that FGC students performed just as well as non- FGC students, future study on Berkeley Optometry students must consider the program's distinct demographics. There is a lack of scholarship pertaining to FGC students who have made it into post-undergraduate studies, often investigating deficiencies in their preparation and look for "traditional" measures of success. Future studies should include metrics that measure factors like resilience as a predictor of persistence, and characteristics like empathy, which is necessary for those who aspire to be in the health professions. [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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California (Berkeley)