Desire for Higher Education in First-Generation Hispanic College Students

By Tamara Olive.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Empirical studies have examined first-generation college students, individuals whose parents have not attended college. Their academic preparation, cognitive development, personality characteristics, and first-year performance have been topics of research. However, there appears to be little in the literature exploring the motivation of these individuals to seek higher education. This study examines the desire to attend college among first-generation Hispanic students enrolled in a post-baccalaureate achievement program designed to increase the attainment of terminal degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. The descriptive phenomenological research method (Giorgi, 1985) was employed with participants in a Texas university designated as a Hispanic-serving institution. The results of this research identify the roles of resilience, previous success, awakened awareness, comfort in the academic environment, a need to contribute to others or to society, a break with tradition, a process of self-discovery, and the influence of valued individuals in facilitating a desire for higher education.

Keywords: First-Generation Students, Hispanic College Students, Higher Education, Phenomenological Research, Desire for College, Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, Ronald E. McNair Program, Academic Support Programming

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.377-390. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 678.870KB).

Dr. Tamara Olive

Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas, USA

Dr. Olive teaches in the graduate counseling program at Sul Ross State University. She earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco, California, and currently maintains a part-time private counseling practice in San Angelo, Texas. She is a licensed professional counselor, a nationally certified counselor, and a certified school counselor. She has worked as a clinical counselor and academic advisor in higher education settings. Her research interests include the desire for higher education in first-generation college students and the efficacy of humanistic approaches with foster children in the clinical environment.


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