Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Baker, Clora


The door to college is open for increasing numbers of students for whom adapting to college may be a great challenge (Kamphoff, Hutson, Amundsen, & Atwood, 2007). Hansen (1998) noted that the overall academic preparation level has declined for students entering college and that academic disengagement in college has increased among many students. The educational background of the parents has been shown to have a significant impact on a student's decision to attend college (Choy, 200). Many firs-generation students come from ethnic and educational backgrounds that historically have struggled with the educational system (Somers, Woodhouse, & Cofer, 2004). The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between students' parental educational background and selected academic and non-academic variables of entering college freshmen. The participants in this study were enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a comprehensive public Midwestern research university, during academic years 2006-2008. Academic and non-academic factors were assessed to determine if differences existed between first-generation and non-first-generation students. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences versions 16.0 (SPSS 16.0) and Microsoft Excel 2007. Descriptive statistics were calculated to provide a general profile of the students. Descriptive data analyzed included demographic information, non-academic data (assessed using the Bryson Instrument for Noncognitive Assessment), and academic data (high school GPA and rank, ACT composite and subscores).




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