Describing College Success Indicators for First-Generation College Students in Colleges of Agriculture
Keywords:First-generation college students, Post-secondary engagement, Retention, Colleges of Agriculture
Earning a bachelor’s degree has been documented as a potential social equalizer in American society. Yet, it has also been documented that first-generation college students (FGCS) have incongruently accessed and earned college degrees. This phenomenon has potentially perpetuated life-long differences in social outcomes in American society. As research continues to explain the experiences of FGCS, little has been done to explore differences for FGCS by college major or affiliation. However, a small but growing body of researchers are examining the experiences and outcomes of college of agriculture and related sciences students, specifically those enrolled at land grant institutions. The researchers in this study sought to describe college success indicators including on-campus involvement, leadership, and sense of belonging by generational status, and college affiliation at a large, midwestern, public, research-intensive institution. Overall, it was found that no differences were reported by generational status or college affiliation for the investigated college success indicators. These findings are different than previous literature in that FGCS were not lesser than their peers. Consequently, these findings add to the understanding of FGCS college experiences insofar as college affiliation may be playing a mitigating role in disparities among FGCS.