Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Title:  First Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at their College Transcripts
Description: This report uses data from the Postsecondary Education Transcript Study (PETS) of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to examine the majors and coursetaking patterns of students who are the first members of their families to attend college (referred to as “first-generation students” in this report) and compare their postsecondary experiences and outcomes with those of students whose parents attended or completed college. The results indicate that first-generation students were at a disadvantage in terms of their access to, persistence through, and completion of postsecondary education. Once in college, their relative disadvantage continued with respect to coursetaking and academic performance. First-generation status was significantly and negatively associated with lower bachelor’s degree completion rates even after controlling for a wide range of interrelated factors, including students’ demographic backgrounds, academic preparation, enrollment characteristics, postsecondary coursetaking, and academic performance. This report also demonstrates that more credits and higher grades in the first year and fewer withdrawn or repeated courses were strongly related to the chances of students (regardless of generation status) persisting in postsecondary education and earning a bachelor’s degree.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: July 2005
Web Release: August 9, 2005
Print Release: August 10, 2005
Publication #: NCES 2005171
Order Your Free Copy Now From Ed Pubs
General Ordering Information
Center/Program: NCES
Authors: Xianglei Chen
Type of Product: Statistical Analysis Report
Survey/Program Areas: High School Transcript Studies (HST)
National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88)
Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Reports (PEDAR)
Keywords:
Postsecondary education
Questions: For questions about the content of this Statistical Analysis Report, please contact:
Aurora M. D'Amico.
 
 
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education