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PEDAR: Executive Summary First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at Their College Transcripts
First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Brief Portrait
Remedial Coursetaking
Undergraduate Major
Credits Earned
Coursetaking in Selected Areas
Postsecondary Performance
Factors Related to Degree Completion and Persistence
Research Methodology
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
Coursetaking in Selected Areas

Reflecting in part their preference for vocational/technical fields over academic ones, first-generation students were less likely than their peers whose parents were college graduates to take courses in various academic areas, including mathematics, science, computer science, social studies, humanities, history, and foreign languages (tables 8, 9, 10, and 11). They also tended to earn fewer credits if they took courses in these areas.

Taking mathematics as an example, 55 percent of first-generation students took at least one mathematics course in college, compared with 81 percent of students whose parents had a bachelor’s degree or higher (figure D). Among those who took any mathematics, first-generation students earned an average of 8 credits, compared with 11 credits earned by their counterparts. Moreover, the gap in advanced mathematics coursetaking (in both the likelihood of taking courses and credits earned) remained even among those who majored in mathematics and science (table 8).

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