College Student Success and Leadership Readiness

Licensing of First Generation college student success and leadership readiness

Graduating high school students across the nation are faced with deciding whether to continue their education or enter the workforce. Many seek higher education in order to improve leadership opportunities and gain economic prosperity and social mobility (Blackwell & Pinder, 2014). The College Board claims that the average annual income for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree is $53,976. The unemployment rate among these graduates is 4.7 percent, which is lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). While these statistics look promising, the opportunity to go to college and obtain a degree is not immediately apparent to all students

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First Generation college student success and leadership readiness

Obstacles First-Generation College Students Face

Many obstacles affect the FGCS enrollment and graduation rate. A 2001 National Center for Education Statistics study found that among students whose parents had completed high school, 54 percent enrolled in college immediately after graduation, while only 36 percent of students whose parents had less than a high school diploma immediately entered college (Balemian & Feng, 2013).

College Readiness

College readiness is defined as the academic and practical knowledge needed to be successful in higher education. High percentages of FGCS are from low-income families and attend low-performing PreK-12 schools (Hudley et al., 2009). Many low-performing schools do not have enough highly qualified teachers and are often underfunded; this, in turn, affects the quality of education many FGCS receive

Financial Challenges

Part of the decision to attend college involves answering the question, “How am I going to pay for this?” If the prospective student does not know how the financial system works, this can be a daunting question. Many FGCS come from a low SES and may lack the financial knowledge and resources that students with college-educated parents have.

Racial Disparity

Racial and ethnic disparity is well documented over the course of U.S. history and has been the subject of many studies, and postsecondary education is no exception. Pitre and Pitre (2009) explained that, “Over several decades in the United States, African American, Hispanic, Native American, and low-income students have completed high school and attended college at consistently lower rates than their White and higher income student counterparts”
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