Emerging Social Capital in the Lives of Latinx First-Generation College Students: The Case for “Apprentice Agents” in a Social Capital Framework

Beard / Journal of First-generation Student Success / August 2021

Latinx first-generation college students (LFGCS) build unique social networks that support their persistence in college. Utilizing a social capital framework to analyze the college experiences of 10 graduating seniors, findings support the theory that LFGCS rely heavily on emotional support from trusted peers to vet resources and networks. Local apprentice agents serve as bridges and guides to institutional agents. This qualitative inquire examines near-peer models, peer mentors, and opportunity brokers in a powerful new light. Where social capital theory previously disregarded the emerging social capital of students, this study exposes essential local capital provided by apprentice agents which aids persistence.

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