The Effects of First-Generation Status on Student Engagement and Outcomes at Liberal Arts Colleges

Dong, 2019 / Journal of College Student Development / January 2019

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Using data from the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) Senior Survey, I compared first-generation students’ self-reported levels of engagement and outcomes with those of continuing-generation students at 16 private liberal arts colleges (N = 7,611). Membership in the first-generation group demonstrated significant, positive main effects on interactions with diversity, satisfaction with career services, and institutional preparation for career path. On a few variables, significant factor interactions were found between first-generation status and gender and first-generation status and race/ethnicity; no particular first-generation subgroup by gender or race/ethnicity appears to be systematically disadvantaged or advantaged relative to the continuing-generation peer subgroup.