The Price of Ascending America’s Class Ladder
Being upwardly mobile can come at a cost to people’s relationships with the family, friends, and community they grew up with.
Journal of Career Development / July 2020
Financial security is cited among reasons why first-generation college students (FGCS) pursue higher education, yet the literature advocating the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree for its perceived value in the employment marketplace fails to include the need for career exploration and planning during the college years. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to examine how career counselors who had been the first in their families to go to college use their personal experience to support current FGCS. The findings of the study suggest that career counselors who share personal, relevant stories from their own college experiences can counter students’ feelings of isolation and confusion regarding career exploration and planning. Further, findings suggest that career counselors who actively partner with academic and student life colleagues on their campuses help FGCS students form a network of contacts, subsequently creating equitable social capital opportunities for all students.