College-going beliefs of prospective first-generation college students : perceived barriers, social supports, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Melinda Miller Gibbons (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
L. DiAnne Borders

Abstract: " Approximately 27% of all graduating high school seniors are prospective first-generation college students. First-generation college students are defined as those whose parents have no formal education beyond high school. Unfortunately, most of the research to date on this group has focused on these students once they arrive at college. Because not all prospective first-generation students complete, or even begin, college, vital information is lacking about this group of students. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the college-going beliefs of middle school students who would be the first in their families to attend college as compared to their peers. Specifically, Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) was applied to help explain the college-related barriers, social supports, self-efficacy beliefs, and outcome expectations of prospective first-generation college students and their peers. In addition, background variables such as gender, ethnicity, and parent educational level, which are believed to affect the learning experiences upon which self-efficacy and outcome beliefs are formed, were examined as well. In this study, each of these constructs was examined through the use of an extensive written assessment. The participants in this study were 7th grade students (n = 272) from four middle schools in a single southeastern state. Of these participants, 105 were prospective first-generation college students. As proposed in the hypotheses for this study, factorial ANOVAs helped demonstrate differences in perceived barriers, parent support, self-efficacy beliefs, and positive outcome expectations between first-generation students and their peers. Path analyses for the full sample as well as separated by first-generation status indicated partial support for SCCT. The influence of background variables, barriers, and supports on strength of college-going intentions differed for prospective first-generation college students as compared to their peers. Evidence was provided to suggest that barriers and supports may have a direct effect on outcome beliefs in addition to self-efficacy beliefs for both groups of participants, although in different ways. Suggestions for how to apply this information to the counseling profession as well as directions for future research are discussed. This study emphasized the many differences between first-generation students and their peers and highlighted the need for early interventions with this population "--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2005
college students, first generation, middle school students, social cognitive career theory, background barriers, early intervention
First-generation college students
Middle school students--Attitudes

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