Mentoring first-generation college students: Examining distinct relationship profiles based on interpersonal characteristics, support provision, and educational capital.

Matthew A. Hagler / Journal of Community Psychology / February 2023

Faculty Student Mentor

The goal of this study was to identify distinct profiles among first-generation college students' mentoring relationships based on interpersonal characteristics, provision of college-related support, and mentors' educational capital. First-year, first-generation undergraduates (n = 176) identified up to six mentors, rating various relationship characteristics, the types and degrees of college-related support each mentor provided, and each mentor's level of educational attainment. Ratings were used as indicators in a multilevel latent profile analysis among mentoring relationships (n = 254), accounting for clustering of multiple mentors within individual participants. A 3-profile solution best fit the data. Profiles were distinguished by closeness, frequency of contact, degree of college-related support provided, and mentors' educational attainment. Mentors with high educational attainment (“High-Capital Mentors”) provided the most support for college-related issues, even with relatively infrequent contact. During their transition to higher education, first-generation college students appear to receive more active mentoring from adults with educational capital, although other adults may serve important functions not captured by the college-specific measures used in this study.