Running head: THEORY TO PRACTICE
Theory to Practice: First-Generation College Students
Nova Southeastern University
THEORY TO PRACTICE
As changes in the field of student affairs continue, different challenges are accompanied,
which are faced by professionals, administrators, and faculties. These challenges can vary from
the cost of education, political influence on campus, homelessness among students, retaining
international students, to supporting first generation students. To further discuss a specific issue,
this paper will focus more on first-generation college students (FGCS). Characteristics of first-
generation students, factors affecting their access and success in college will be discussed.
Likewise, potential solutions, guided by student development theories, will be covered to help
student affairs professionals have a better understanding of this population.
The 2018 Trends Report discusses the issue FGCS face when attending post-secondary
education. According to this report by Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, President of Texas A&M
University (TAMU) at San Antonio, FGCS should be immersed in a program before the school
semester starts (2018). As stated by Dr. Teniente-Matso, the program should focus on coaching
the students on personal, social, and academic success. Furthermore, Teniente-Matson continues
to stress the importance of including family members in the process of the students’ education,
thus, she claimed that having Family First Seminar will boost the chance of students succeeding
in college (2018). Teniente-Matson’s report reflects on the book, Getting the Most of College, by
Dr. Nancy Schlossberg and Dr. Arthur Chickering. Scholars Chickering and Schlossberg,
discussed in the said book about the transition process college students face through three
different stages: moving in, moving through, moving out (1995).
The day after Dr. Teniente-Matoson’s report about FCGS was published, the president of
the newly built community college has instructed the newly hired Access and Retention Director,
THEORY TO PRACTICE
Cesar Mendoza, to do further research on how to support FCGS. The president asked that after
the first school year, a mandatory assessment between academic and student affairs should be
executed. The purpose of the assessment is to find out additional aid and guidance needed to help
support the students. After the final analyzation of the assessment, it was found that FGCS are
struggling to maintain good academic standing and paying off tuition fees. President Dr. Cynthia
Teniente-Matson, has instructed Cesar Mendoza to conduct a research about the FGCS
population, and to come up an initiative to present in the next month.
To begin with, it is important to define who are considered as FGCS. According to
scholars Saenz, Hurtado, Barrera, Wolf, and Yeung (2007) and Nuñez and Cuccaro-Alamin
(1998), FGCS are students who come from families in which neither of their parents h...