How Relevant Is Grit? The Importance of Social Capital in First-Generation College Students’ Academic Success

Almeida et al., 2019 / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice / June 2019

defining first gen

Traditional definitions of Grit have diminished the role of institutional actors in student success. Social capital theory posits that students derive benefits like institutional resources, information, and support through their social networks to achieve success in higher education. This study employed social network analysis to operationalize dimensions of social capital. Using a sample of first-generation college students (FGCSs; N = 156) at a 4-year private institution, this study explored the relationship between grit and social capital, and how these concepts relate to FGCS success. This study found that Grit and its two components—consistency of interest and perseverance of effort—do not predict FGCS’ grade point average, while access to social capital with faculty and staff does. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.