Understanding and Supporting the Learning Process for First Generation College Students at CSUN
Just under one-third of CSUN's entering freshmen are first-generation college students--that is, they come from families where neither parent has more than a high school degree (Huber and Naganand, 2008). The campus takes justifiable pride in the fact that we seek to extend the promise of a college education to our students. But we also know that the experience of being the first in a family to attend college may impact students' academic performance, self-confidence, and persistence.
In May 2009, Lideth Ortega-Villalobos (University Counseling Services) led a conversation in which she shared her recommendations for supporting and inspiring these students to make the most of their learning experiences. See the list of Resources below for additional information.
(For information about other workshops in the Freshman Faculty Series, call Academic First Year Experiences in CIELO: x6535 on campus.)
In addition to Lideth's handout for this session, these resources may be useful to you (and your students):
- The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at CSUN.
- DiAngelo, Linda. "College Choice for First-Generation Students." Blog post. 1 Mar. 2010. HERI Blog.
- Dweck, Carol. Mindset (2006). New York: Random House. Dweck’s website at http://mindsetonline.com/ offers links with additional information about the book
- Engle, Jennifer, and Vincent Tinto. "Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students." The Pell Institute, 2008. Accessed 2/6/09. http://www.pellinstitute.org/files/COE_MovingBeyondReport_Final.pdf
- First Generation Student: free website with information on "what it takes to get to and through college," including first person blog contributions by current first-generation students. For CSUN students, see especially the tabbed section "Succeed."
- First In the Family: non-profit website (sponsored by the Lumina Foundation) with videos and a book offering first-generation college students' experiences in their own words.
- Huber, Bettina, and Amita Naganand (2008): "A Profile of the First Time Full-Time Freshmen Entering Cal State Northridge in Fall 2007: Key Findings from the CIRP Freshman Survey." Accessed 2/1/09. Available online: http://www.csun.edu/~instrsch/index.html
- Lohfink, Mandy Martin ,and Michael B. Paulsen, "Comparing the Determinants of Persistence for First-Generation and Continuing-Generation Students." July-August 2005. Journal of College Student Development.
- Oldfield, Kenneth. "Humble and Hopeful: Welcoming First-Generation Poor and Working-Class Students to College." About Campus (January-February 2007): 2-12. A powerfully written first-person account that ought to be a classic.
- Thayer, Paul. "Retention of Students from First-Generation and Low-Income Backgrounds." May 2000. Opportunity Outlook.
Also see the resource list supporting CSUN's faculty book groups on Teaching Unprepared Students by Kathleen Gabriel.