Date of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Susan Marine


Educational establishments have long been working on the development of educational programs for students to enhance their performance and motivation. However, colleges often fail to consider the specific needs and concerns of first-generation students who are often less motivated to enter higher education (Davis, 2010). The purpose of this study was to explore the major challenges of these students in order to enhance their motivation to continue their education. Additionally, the program director of a recently transformed first generation initiative was interviewed for insights about the process. The research was based on a qualitative methodology. It included interviews with first-generation students and a first-generation program director at a small liberal arts college. From the findings, interviewed participants expressed an interest in more contact from faculty and staff, more workshops, connections with alumni, and career development. Recommendations include enhancement of career programs, a summer bridge program, and orientation program for parents, as well as implementation of outings and events, and increasing first-gen student visibility on campus.