Identity and Social Networks Among First Generation College Students



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This thesis focuses on first generation college students and their unique social positions in social and institutional networks. First generation students are less likely to attend college than non-first generation students. I examine what factors make a student more likely to self-report student success by considering formation of a new identity, ?college student,? as well as looking at networks and role behaviors consistent with the new identity. It was predicted that those that were consistent with behaviors and identity would self-report academic success at a higher rate. I also predicted that overall, first generation students would be at a disadvantage compared to non-first generation students. Survey data collected from a large university in the southwest was utilized for analysis. First generation students are less likely to report academic success compared to their non-first generation peers. However, when more variables are considered within a binomial regression analysis, first generation status is no longer a significant influence on success. Other factors such as hours per week engaged in homework, involvement in learning communities, and ethnicity had an effect on self-reported success. Those who spent more hours per week doing homework or were involved in learning communities were more likely to self-report academic success. Whites were also more likely to report academic success than non-whites. Several policy implications are discussed.