Date of Award

Fall 12-6-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Roger "Mitch" Nasser Jr.

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Sherblom

Third Advisor

Dr. Brittany Neunuebel

Abstract

The researcher focused on two groups of students, the First-Generation College Student (FGCS) and the sophomore student. First-Generation College Students completed degrees within six years at a rate of 34%, compared to 66% of non-FGCS (Engle & Tinto, 2008, p. 2). Researchers concluded that reducing support services after the first year led to a feeling of disconnection from institution and dropouts (Sanchez- Leguelinel, 2008). Researchers concluded the sophomore FGCS as the most susceptible group for attrition during a student’s second year (Ishitani, 2006). The purpose of the mixed methods study was to compare perceptions of the sophomore students from both FGCS and non-FGCS subgroups. Fox (2014) concluded, “sophomore struggles range widely” (p. 15) and recommended “that more research is needed to further hone in on their experiences and the role of the institution in these experiences” (p. 15). Vuong, Brown-Welty, and Tracz (2010) found “it is critical that postsecondary institutions have an understanding of strong predictors of academic persistence and completion, particularly for first-generation college sophomore students” (p. 62). Little research existed to offer practitioners insights into the specific differences of student perceptions between the FGCS and non-FGCS. The researcher compared sophomore FGCS perceptions to offer student services practitioners additional insights for use in practice. The researcher’s study filled a gap in the literature by conducting a mixed method study comparing perceptions of the sophomore FGCS and non-FGCS student.

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