Self efficacy and retention among first-generation college students
Borgen, Elizabeth M.
University of Wisconsin--Whitewater
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The American education system is often regarded as an engine of social mobility (Bowen, Kurzweil, Tobin, & Pichler, 2005). However, research has shown that the higher education system can instead play a major role in perpetuating social inequalities (Covarrubias, Jones, & Johnson, 2018; Radunzel, 2018; Stephens, Fryberg, Markus, Johnson, & Covarrubias, 2012). First-generation college students often lack the social and cultural capital of their peers and graduate at much lower rates than those whose parents have obtained a bachelor’s degree (Covarrubias et al, 2018). This study used an experimental research design to evaluate an intervention strategy (summer bridge program), grounded in self-efficacy, designed to reduce the gap in college success between first-generation students and their peers. Differences in selfefficacy development among males and females were examined and explored in greater depth through a second qualitative study using semi-structured focus group interviews. Imposter phenomenon and stereotype threat were incorporated to highlight gender differences in selfefficacy. Contributions will inform higher education retention strategies specifically designed to support first-generation college students.
First-generation college students
College dropouts -- Prevention
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