Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Yasha Becton


This action research study analyzed career and major choice perceptions among low-income first-generation college students or FGCS while using self-efficacy as the primary metric. This study instituted a mixed-methods methodology to understand further student-related challenges and factors that affected their career and major decisions. Using a pretest-posttest design, participants’ self-efficacy levels were assessed using the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Assessment - Short Form (CDSE-SF). After analyzing the student performance in the five sub-factors of this instrument, these data were used to inform the individual interviews and focus groups. All participants were first-year students enrolled in a federally funded TRIO program, which explicitly supports first-generation college students. The study's purpose was to examine the impact that TRIO Programs have on FGCS major and career decisions and exposure. Findings from the study indicate that financial support, supportive advising and mental health resources are essential to provide effective support for FGCS as they pursue their career goals.