Document Type



Past research has clearly indicated that first-generation college students are a unique cohort facing specific obstacles on their journey through higher education. That said, it is crucial to understand their motivations for pursuing a college degree in order to better help guide them throughout their studies. Furthermore, comparing these motivations and motivation changes to those of continuing-generation college students provides further insight regarding the uniqueness of first-generation college students. In Study 1, we studied this by asking students to recall their past motivations for enrolling in college and cite their present reasons for being in college. In Study 2, we studied the same motivations, but in a longitudinal format over the course of one college semester. The results of both Study 1 and Study 2 indicated that overall, the motivations of first-generation college students do not change much over time and are not very different from those of continuing-generation college students. Understanding this information is crucial is helping to integrate the two groups as well as providing a more positive higher education experience for first-generation students.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Ashley Hansen-Brown, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Michael Root, Committee Member
Dr. Hana Shahin, Committee Member