Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dianne Timm


First-generation college students face many challenges when coming into higher education. This qualitative study was designed to gain an understanding of how first-generation college students utilize resources on campus in support of trying to work through their challenges and gain their successes. Chickering and Reisser's (1993) theory of identity development was used to better understand the development of first-generation college students during their transition and first year at the institution. The researcher interviewed five first-generation college students who identified as Caucasian and were in their second year of college. The results from the study showed that first-generation students rely heavily on the resources available to them at the institution. Participants discussed the value and need for faculty, peers, and campus offices and how these offices played a key role in their experience at the institution.