Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


As higher education has become more accessible to traditionally underrepresented groups, more of these types of students - such as first-generation college students - have started to matriculate on campuses across the country. Existing research on first-generation college students focuses on the characteristics common among these students and the strategies often implemented to foster their success in college. There is a lack of more detailed, personalized accounts of the college experiences of these students. This dissertation focuses on an exploration of the experiences of first-generation college students in Lasallian higher education (institutions sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers.)

Using a qualitative, phenomenological approach, this study describes the essence of the college experience for first-generation college students at a Lasallian institution. I concluded that faculty members embody the mission of the College and that this mission adds value to the experience of these students. These findings were not previously identified in the literature. Several findings confirmed the existing literature about first-generation college students, most notably concerning lack of preparation for college and the increased levels of stress and pressures that these students experience. Two findings, in particular, raised questions about the literature, particularly addressing the "at-risk" nature of first-generation college students and the level of parental support they received before and during college.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.