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Evaluation of Academic and Non-Academic Factors of First-Generation Students Transitioning to a Pharmacy Program

Anadi et al. / American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education / October 2023

This study's purpose was to evaluate the academic transition of first-generation (FG) students to a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program and impact of early intervention/outreach. The retrospective study evaluated the first semester performance in three classes of student pharmacists (beginning fall 2020, 2021, 2022) at a public university in the mid-South. Student demographics (age, sex, race, relationship status), non-academic factors (Grit, impostor syndrome, testing anxiety, perceived stress), and academic factors (grade point average [GPA], academic probation, early intervention) were assessed. In fall 2022, a required academic meeting was added to the early intervention process after exam one for high-risk students. The data between FG and non-FG students were compared: Mann-Whitney tests for continuous variables and Chi-square tests with risk estimate for categorical variables. There were 152 FG and 274 non-FG students identified over the three classes. Eighty-eight (57.9%) FG students represented racial minority groups. More FG students and non-White students were identified for early intervention. FG students were more likely to receive two or more grades less than C- and less likely to progress to the spring. No significance was noted with generational status and undergraduate GPA, academic performance, or non-academic factors. The required meeting after exam one in fall 2022 resulted in less disparity between FG and non-FG students identified for early intervention for exam two. FG and non-White students were more likely to struggle when transitioning to the PharmD curriculum. A proactive, individualized approach incorporated into early intervention procedures is needed to promote academic success and belonging.