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


Kimberlee Ward

Faculty Sponsor

Elizabeth Pascoe


More first-generation students are attending college than ever before, but they are not graduating at the same rates of non first-generation college students (Collier & Morgan 2007). Research attempting to identify, explain, and understand these differences focuses on retention rates, graduation rates, and barriers to success such as knowledge of college expectations, navigating resources, and a sense of belonging. While studies have documented how first-generation college students (FGCS) see their role in college, less work has investigated the stereotypes people hold of first-generation college students and the role these stereotypes play in the success of first-generation college students. Specifically we are lacking information about whether first-generation college students perceive stereotypes among the college community regarding their FGCS status and its relationship to school-readiness, what these stereotypes might entail, and how these stereotypes (if they exist) might contribute to negative academic outcomes. Investigation of this missing information, which the current study attempts to do, could lead to increased understanding of how to help first-generation college students with the challenges they face on a college campus.