The Integration of First-Year, First-Generation College Students from Ohio Appalachia
First-generation college students comprise a substantial proportion of the entire college student population. Despite the increasing likelihood of college enrollment among students whose parents did not attend college, first-generation students are at higher risk of failure than are their nonfirst-generation peers. Also, residents of the Appalachian region of the United States are less likely to enter and eventually succeed in college than non-Appalachian populations. Using Basic Interpretive Qualitative Research (Merriam, 2004), the researchers examined the academic, social, and interpersonal experiences of nine first-generation, first-year students from Ohio Appalachia at a college that enrolls primarily first-generation students from the Appalachian region. Connections to family, academic success, a sense of belonging, and financial issues were salient issues for these students. The unique campus environment assisted students in their integration and can be instructive for educators working with this population of students in different institutional settings.