First Generation Students and Post-Undergraduate Aspirations

Carlton, Morgan Teressa
Publication Year:

Equal access to education is a growing concern throughout the nation. With an increasing amount of programs aimed to support the underrepresented populations on college campuses, first generation college students have grown to be a target population of particular interest. This study examined the relationships between first generation college seniors and applications to graduate or professional programs. The goal of this study was to determine if first generation students are pursuing advanced degrees at lower rates than non-first generation students and if so, attempt to uncover factors contributing to that evidence. Data were gathered from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshman data set, and variables were analyzed using a binary logistic regression. The results of the study indicate that first generation students are significantly less likely to pursue an advanced degree, even when controlling for race, gender, family income, and cumulative grade point average, suggesting a distinctive impact of first generation status on post-undergraduate aspirations. However, after controlling for the impact of self-reported undergraduate loans, the effect of first generation status was no longer significant. The findings in this study provide an important new perspective in the field of sociology.

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