First-generation students' academic engagement and retention

Krista M. Soria, Michael J. Stebleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


This study investigates differences in academic engagement and retention between first-generation and non-first-generation undergraduate students. Utilizing the Student Experience in the Research University survey of 1864 first-year students at a large, public research university located in the United States, this study finds that first-generation students have lower academic engagement (as measured by the frequency with which students interacted with faculty, contributed to class discussions, brought up ideas from different courses during class discussions, and asked insightful questions in class) and lower retention as compared to non-first-generation students. Recommendations that higher education faculty can follow to promote the academic engagement and retention of first-generation students are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-685
Number of pages13
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • academic engagement
  • first-generation students
  • public universities
  • retention


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