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First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at Their College Transcripts

National Center for Education Statistics / July 2005

old photo four college students

This study considers the coursetaking experiences of first-generation students after entering college. What do first-generation students study in college? How well do they do in their coursework? Is their coursework different from that of their peers whose parents went to college? Using data from the Postsecondary Education Transcript Study of NELS:88, this study examines the majors and coursetaking patterns of first-generation students and compare their postsecondary experiences and outcomes with those of continuing students. Findings distinguish between first-generation students and their counterparts with respect to major fields of study chosen, the types of courses taken, amount of coursework completed, academic performance, and outcomes.