August 23, 2022
June 26, 2022
June 29, 2022
A first-generation student is defined as someone whose parents do not have a 4-year degree. Since their parents did not have any experience in how to navigate college academic and social arenas, first generation students are faced with many challenges including maintaining identity, academic persistence, and a balanced social life. Further, research shows that these students tend to come from lower family income bracket, lack sufficient academic preparation specially for a major like engineering or other STEM majors and tend to work more to cover the expenses as well as to support their families. Furthermore, first generation students also face challenges with respect to “social capital” as they do not come with an established social network that they can lean on when they need support. Similarly, research suggests these students also lack the “cultural capital”, which refers to an experiential gap in their parents compared to those whose parents have academic qualifications and experience that they share with their children. While several intervention methods can be found in higher education literature to improve the academic and social experience of first-generation students, mentoring and summer bridge programs are two key methods that are widely adopted.
This paper presents a case study of a first-generation engineering (FGEn) student mentoring program at XXX university. The program currently focuses on first year students in the college of engineering. The XXX University has a common first year program for all engineering and engineering technology majors. The FGEn program was established in 2017 and has been providing mentoring services to about 150 to 160 freshmen every year. The mentor pool consists of both engineering faculty/staff and peer mentors. Unlike many first-generation student programs, the FGEn program is a one-on-one mentoring and does not provide any financial assistance to mentees. However, the program offers a variety of programs during the academic years that help engage the students. Academic performance of the FGEn students and their social experience over the last three years are presented in the paper. The results suggest that the FGEn mentoring program has demonstrably improved the academic performance and generally provided a positive social experience for the students. Lastly, the paper also provides a brief discussion of the findings of a survey of first-generation students at XXX University with respect to the challenges they face in maneuvering their academic and social lives as a university student.
Johnson, M., & Nepal, B., & Torvi, S. (2022, August), Improving Academic Performance of First-Generation Students: A Case Study of Mentoring Program Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/40669
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015