Stephanie Bondi, PhD.
Date of this Version
Sloup, K.S.L. (2021). Honorable firsts: The experience of first-generation students in honors programs (Master's thesis). University of Nebraska - Lincoln
This constructivist, qualitative research study explored the experiences of first-generation students in honors programs and colleges. This study seeks to fill a gap in the literature regarding students who are both first-generation students and enrolled in honors programs. First-generation students are estimated to be 56% of the college student population (RTI International, 2019), but only 28.6% of the honors student population (National Collegiate Honors Council’s Admissions, Retention, and Completion Survey as cited by Mead, 2018). Two, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant. The participants in this study included one current student and four recent alumni who were first-generation students enrolled in honors during their undergraduate experience at a public, four-year research institution. Inductive and deductive coding process were used to analyze the data. Six key findings were identified from the data in this study: financial incentives, competitive advantage, checkbox process, residence hall community, relationships, and completing the program. The findings from this study contribute to the small body of knowledge focused on the intersection of first-generation students who are also honors students. From this study, implications are shared that address the importance of validating relationships with honors staff and peers and the need for a review of honors programming to create a culturally responsive environment.
Advisor: Stephanie Bondi