Addressing the Sophomore Slump: First-Generation College Students’ Completion of Year Two of Study in a Rural Bachelor’s Degree Granting College

Capik & Shupp / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, & Practice / May 2021

There is limited research on the experiences of first-generation students who have completed their second year and enrolled for a third year in order to continue their studies even though this population of students are the most likely to drop out of college in their second year. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how current first-generation college students, who are enrolled or completed the second semester of their sophomore year, experience college as a first-generation student and made the decision to persist toward completing their bachelor’s degree. Through first-hand accounts of participants’ experiences of their time at the university, this study highlights what factors students contributed to their persistence toward graduation. The findings have the potential to facilitate a deeper understanding of what stakeholders working with first-generation college students can do to assist in retention efforts of this population.