A Case Study of the Influence of Family on First-Generation College Students' Educational Aspirations Post High School

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The purpose of this study is to examine how factors in the home environment (hereby referred to as habitus) (Bourdieu, 1977) impact the educational aspirations of first-generation college students who are participants in an academic achievement program designed to meet the needs of first-generation and underrepresented students (Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program). This study examined family characteristics such as educational and cultural practices, academic awareness, social class position and parental expectations to determine if they have an impact on student aspirations. The primary research question to guide this study is, "What is the influence of family on first-generation college students' educational aspirations post high school?"

This study sought to determine how families that were from traditionally underrepresented populations (low SES, ethnic minorities, single parent home, etc.) in post-secondary education were able to influence the aspirations of their children to attendcollege. Put differently, the study sought to understand the amount of exposure that each student had to the collegiate experience, the arts, financial information, and other cultural and social events. This study focused on what happened in the homes of the participants that provided the requisite skills, attitudes and behaviors that would serve as a source of motivation to aspire to college.