Promoting College Retention in First-Generation College Students

Mindi N. Thompson and Julia C. Phillips

in The Oxford Handbook of Prevention in Counseling Psychology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396423
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Promoting College Retention in First-Generation College Students

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Abstract First-generation college students (FGCS) are those students whose parents did not attend or graduate from college. They are at greater risk for not graduating from college in comparison to students whose parents are college graduates. Counseling psychologists working in higher education are well situated to aid in retention of FGCS through various prevention efforts given our values and expertise. This chapter reviews the literature on characteristics of FGCS. First, we summarize existing empirical research relevant to the experiences of FGCS in institutions of higher education. Second, we offer a brief overview of relevant theories that provide explanatory context for understanding the success of FGCS. Third, we highlight strategic points of intervention for FGCS in order to prevent negative outcomes and overview avenues by which counseling psychologists have been involved in prevention efforts with FGCS. Finally, we explore approaches by which counseling psychologists can contribute to these prevention efforts. Directions for research, theory, and practice will be suggested for current and future generations of counseling psychologists.

Keywords: retention; first-generation college students; prevention

Article.  12680 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Counselling Psychology

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