The Unique Challenges and Demands of First-Generation College Students Who Participate in Division III Athletics

Zlotkowski / Journal of First-generation Student Success / June 2023

This narrative research study examined the college transition stories of first-generation college students who participated in Division III athletics. Using Schlossberg’s Transition Theory as a framework, interviews were conducted with eight participants who actively participated in Division III athletics. Themes that emerged were: college as home and team as family, self-reliance, and overcoming imposter syndrome twice. Findings suggest opportunities for college administrators to help first-generation college student-athletes to feel a sense of belonging early in the college transition process, prioritize building a culture of support, and avoid assumptions of the competencies of incoming students to foster an environment of inclusion.

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