The First Generation Student Experience
Implications for Campus Practice, and Strategies for Improving Persistence and Success

Paper: 978 1 57922 370 0 / $31.95
Published: March 2010  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 369 4 / $95.00
Published: March 2010  

Lib E-Book: 978 1 57922 525 4 / $95.00  
About Library E-Book

Published: March 2012  

E-Book: 978 1 57922 526 1 / $25.99
Published: March 2012  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
214 pp., 6" x 9"
Series: ACPA Books co-published with Stylus Publishing
More first-generation students are attending college than ever before, and policy makers agree that increasing their participation in higher education is a matter of priority.

Despite this, there is no agreed definition about the term, few institutions can quantify how many first-generation students are enrolled, or mistakenly conflate them with low-income students, and many important dimensions to the first-generation student experience remain poorly documented. Few institutions have in place a clear, well-articulated practice for assisting first-generation students to succeed.

Given that first-generation students comprise over 40% of incoming freshmen, increasing their retention and graduation rates can dramatically increase an institution’s overall retention and graduation rates, and enhance its image and desirability.

It is clearly in every institution’s self-interest to ensure its first-generation students succeed, to identify and count them, and understand how to support them. This book provides high-level administrators with a plan of action for deans to create the awareness necessary for meaningful long-term change, sets out a campus acclimation process, and provides guidelines for the necessary support structures.

At the heart of the book are 14 first-person narratives – by first-generation students spanning freshman to graduate years – that help the reader get to grips with the variety of ethnic and economic categories to which they belong. The book concludes by defining 14 key issues that institutions need to address, and offers a course of action for addressing them.

This book is intended for everyone who serves these students – faculty, academic advisors, counselors, student affairs professionals, admissions officers, and administrators – and offers a set of best practices for how two- and four-year institutions can improve the success of their first-generation student populations.

An ACPA Publication

Table of Contents:
1) How many First-Generation College Students Are There?
2) The Observable Behaviors of First-Generation College Students
3) The Internal Psychology of First-Generation College Students
4) In Their Own Words
5) Narrative Analysis
6) Recommendations
About the Author

Reviews & Endorsements:
"This is a useful text for teachers in undergraduate programs of religion and theology, especially those teaching in undergraduate programs at religion-based institutions that attract larger numbers of first-generation and other non-traditional students. The observations in this book can help teachers begin to think about how this student population is defined and what services are necessary to address student needs."
- Joy Bostic, Case Western Reserve University , Teaching Theology & Religion
"Davis should be applauded for his effort to shed light on first-generation students and their experiences in particular. He tasks the field of higher education with better accounting for first-generation students and for working to identify a universal definition for first-generation students as coming from families where neither parent holds a college degree. The book is accessible to scholars and student affairs administrators and, most importantly, to the very population I suspect Davis hopes to reach with this book, first-generation students who are navigating the often rough and chilly waters on their way to being the first in their families to earn a college degree."
- Journal of College Student Development