First-Generation Sociology Majors

Spalter-Roth, Roberta; Senter, Mary S.
Publication Year:

Compared to peers whose parents graduated from college, first-generation college students have a limited knowledge of campus life, less understanding of college expectations, greater chances of dropping out, and a lower likelihood of graduating within five years. Moreover, first-generation students do not catch up during their college years because they are less likely to develop relationships with faculty and with peers. Given these circumstances, readers should not be surprised that researchers have found that first-generation college students, across majors, were less satisfied with their college experience than their fellow students whose parents have college degrees. But here is the good news! Earlier studies of first-generation students have only told half the story. They have not examined the post-graduate experiences of first-generation students who did not drop out but persisted to graduation. Using the American Sociological Association’s longitudinal survey of sociology majors (funded by the National Science Foundation), we have compared the undergraduate experiences and satisfaction with post-graduate jobs of 911 first generation students with the rest of their sociology major peers

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