First-Generation University Students: University Experiences and Outcomes
Gaining a university qualification has the potential to reduce socioeconomic inequalities through several economic and social benefits of studying beyond secondary school. Students who are the first in their family to attend university originate from backgrounds that may benefit especially from higher education. Unfortunately, first- generation students are disproportionately challenged in a number of ways that may have an impact on their experience at university and subsequent beneficial returns of gaining a university qualification. The overarching goal of the present study was to investigate the university experiences and subsequent outcomes of first-generation students compared to continuing-generation students. In the present study, first-generation students were those whose parents had gained a qualification lower than a bachelor’s degree, whilst continuing- generation students were those whose parents had gained a qualification equal to or higher than a bachelor’s degree. In their final year of study, participants were asked a host of questions about their experiences at university, including satisfaction, aids/barriers while studying, finances, and their academic beliefs. In a follow-up survey at 2 years post- graduation, participants were asked similar questions to determine the extent to which gaining a university qualification may have had an impact on their lives and their communities in the short-term. Results indicated that whilst first-generation students were more likely to report certain barriers and lower academic self-esteem compared to continuing-generation students, on the whole first-generation students reported comparable university experiences and as well as comparable, if not more favourable, economic and social benefits at 2 years post-graduation. These findings provide valuable insight into the university experiences of and outcomes for first-generation students, and are uniquely placed to provide a foundation for informing any future policy changes at the governmental or university level.
Advisor: Tustin, Karen; Theodore, Reremoana
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: first-generation; continuing-generation; post-graduation-benefits; cultural capital; social capital; academic preparedness; academic role models; family support; finances; academic challenges; belonging; post-graduation outcomes; private benefits; social benefits; barriers; aids; academic beliefs; academic; university satisfaction; voting; helping behaviour; prosocial behaviour; enrolment status; employment status; group association; demographic-profile; university experience; university outcome; New Zealand; GLSNZ; Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand
Research Type: Thesis