How First-Generation College Students Adjust to College

Gibbons, Rhinehart, & Hardin, 2016 / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice / March 2016

students in classroom standing with teacher

This study explored the perceived barriers and supports related to college adjustment for first-generation college students at a large public university in the southeastern United States. Using social cognitive career theory as a framework, 15 college students participated in focus groups to discuss their adjustment to college and what they believed would have helped them better prepare for college. A qualitative analysis of themes resulted in identification of various barriers and supports, provided a multifaceted understanding of college adjustment, and highlighted the importance of preparing for college. Implications for career and school counselors are provided.