Academic momentum: Does speed lead to success for first-generation students?
Monk-Morgan, V. Kaye
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The purpose of this study was to investigate how enrollment in 15 credit hours during the first semester influenced a first-time-in-college (FTIC), first-generation (FG) student’s perceptions of their academic momentum, their academic and social integration, and their persistence to graduation, at the conclusion of their first year of attendance. The research problem explored the lived experience of first-generation, freshmen students who attended a Midwest university that recently implemented the academic momentum approached known as 15 to Finish. Research questions sought to exam the influence of pre-entry factors on enrollment decisions, the experiences during the first year that enhanced or diminished academic and social integration and the overall perception of momentum achieved, based on Tinto’s Theory of Student Departure. The qualitative interpretative case study was conducted using a participant screener, dyad and triad interviews, and document review. The participant pool was identified by university personnel and recruited using the university Qualtrics system. A survey was administered allowing students to sign up for the study. Data collection was accomplished via Zoom and Dedoose was used to manage the date, create codes, and derive themes. Study findings indicate the participants, all first-generation, scholarship recipients who enrolled in at least 15 credit hours their first semester, experienced short-lived academic momentum as defined by credit accumulation. Students reported integration in the formal academic system and limited integration in the informal social system as a result of their enrollment. Additionally, students noted that they attributed much of their momentum to attributes and factors outside of their enrolled course load.
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology