Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado


Andrea Rascon

Faculty Sponsor

Tamara Yakaboski


The number of women entering college and receiving degrees is continuously increasing while simultaneously first-generation students also are making up a larger portion of college students. Though numbers have increased, both populations are frequently viewed as vulnerable when it comes to succeeding in college. Much research has covered each populace separately. Minimal focus on first-generation female (FGF) students has limited the understanding of what the everyday college environment offers to enhance academic, social, and ethical experiences. Past research has focused on financing and academics; however, this study’s purpose was to explore the collegiate experiences that contribute to FGF student’s success and positive individual development throughout college. Qualitative group discussions involving FGF undergraduate students demonstrated key aspects of their college experiences as well as what supportive and educational resources universities were potentially missing. Findings include issues related to family and peer support, society role-expectations, self-development, decision-making, health-related behaviors, emotional well-being, student engagement, and student support services.