Publication Date

2018

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Gyant, LaVerne, 1950-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education

LCSH

Higher education

Abstract

One-third of the entering freshman class is a first-generation college student. Prior studies show that first-generation college students are low-income, they tend to graduate in six-years, and likely to leave college after their first year. Researchers have found that high-impact practices is one way to help remedy the various challenges that first-year, first-generation students' encounter. A learning community as an example of a high-impact activity makes a positive difference for students which helps first-generation students build their identities as learners. This study examined the experiences of first-generation students about how they perceive their FLC. A basic interpretive qualitative research study was conducted which incorporated personal stories from 13 first-year, first-generation college students. To help frame this study, Sense of Belonging was used as a conceptual framework. My approach to themeing the data was generating theoretical constructs. The four themes are: (a) Writing Intensively is Reflective and Impactful; (b) Academic Support is Beneficial, Utilizing Resources, and Engaging; (c) Making Connections is Relational and Transitioning; (d) Participating is Motivation, Awareness, and Structure. Findings from this study show that students' perceptions regarding their experiences in a freshman learning community were positive. Participants mentioned how they benefited from the learning community, created a sense of community and belonging, and successfully transitioned into college. This study has important implications for expanding knowledge and informing institutional practices aimed to enhance the experiences of first-generation students enrolled in FLCs.

Comments

Advisors: Laverne Gyant.||Committee members: Laura Johnson; Renique Kersh.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.

Extent

166 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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