Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Christian Anderson


As first-generation college parents experience their child's transition to become a college student, they are continually forming meanings and sending messages about this experience. Previous research has largely credited first-generation college parents with sending negative messages to their children about the pursuit of a college education and providing limited supportive involvement during this time. Much of this research arrived at this conclusion with limited, if any, input from first-generation college parents. Therefore, this study explored the first-hand narratives of college transition from both first-generation college parents and their child. Specifically, this qualitative research study examined how the process of college planning and enrollment is perceived by first-generation college parents and then communicated to their college student. This study's findings suggest parental messages have been oversimplified into positive and negative categories due to the lack of inclusion of parental input on the information they are attempting to relay to their children. Additionally, although there was overlap in some of the college message themes reported by both parent and child participant groups, the order of significance and prevalence of message themes was not identical in the two participant groups. Surprisingly, this study also revealed the identification of a new category of college families who were termed as pseudo-first-generation college families due to these families being neither traditional first-generation nor traditional second and beyond generation college families.


© 2010, Stacie Latrell Williams