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A mixed-methods investigation of the college-going experiences of first-generation college students




Holliday, Chrissy, author
Anderson, Sharon K., advisor
DeMirjyn, Maricela, committee member
McKelfresh, David, committee member
Kuk, Linda, committee member

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College-going culture represents the development of college aspiration within individuals, and also the provision of guidance and support to prepare students for college application, enrollment, and success (Achinstein, Curry, & Ogawa, 2015; Corwin & Tierney, 2007). First- generation students are of particular research interest because they have lower college-going rates than their peers whose parents have degrees (Langenkamp & Shifrer, 2018), a reality that ultimately contributes to disparate educational outcomes with both individual and societal impacts (Serna & Woulfe, 2017; Trostel & Chase Smith, 2015). This mixed-methods case study provides greater insight into the college-going experiences of first-generation college students by answering the research question, "How did first-generation students attending an Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) experience the phenomenon of college-going culture in their high schools and communities?" The study also answered four secondary research questions: (a) "What similarities and differences exist among students graduating from high schools with different college-going cultures?"; (b) "What factors related to the theoretical frameworks selected for this study inform college-going culture for those students?"; (c) "How do those differences and informative factors converge and diverge by case profile?"; and (d) "What do the combined quantitative and qualitative data reveal about college-going culture that is not provided by one or the other alone?" Detailed analysis of survey and interview data provided insight into the student experiences and resulted in six assertions with practical implications for practitioners and future researchers.


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