Throughout their educational trajectory, students face multiple barriers that challenge whether they will persist in college or not. First-generation college students, in particular, face unique challenges in persisting throughout the community college system and being able to transfer out (Wang, 2009). Although research has proven that elements influencing a student’s ability to persist (or lack thereof) are wide and complex (Nakajima, Dembo & Mossler, 2012), our study seeks to gain an understanding of factors affecting the persistence of first-generation students attending a community college. Moreover, in combining student testimonials with past literature and quantitative data, the study hopes to examine how social, cultural, and environmental factors impact student persistence. We are surveying 1000 first-generation, community college students in the Los Angeles area to understand the social, …show more content…
RQ2: How do students describe those experiences?
For the purpose of this study, we refer to culture as behaviors and values that are learned, shared, and exhibited by a group of people (Yosso, 2005). Environmental factors will refer to the the college climate expressed and perceived by students. Lastly, social factors encompasses student involvement on campus, interactions with faculty, as well as use of a student’s social capital or lack thereof.
Literature Review There are several factors that either contribute to or hinder a student’s ability to persist in college. In what follows, we identify some of literature surrounding persistence, focusing on the role that social, cultural and environmental factors play. Overall, the literature supports the thought that the aforementioned factors can positively or negatively impact a student during his or her time in college.