Date of Award

Spring 3-24-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

David Kluth, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Andy Hernandez, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Brian Creasman, Ed.D.


This dissertation about first-generation Caucasian students’ (FGCS’) experiences is an original independent research project that will contribute to educators’ knowledge regarding issues faced by FGCS when preparing for, deciding to attend, or persisting in college. This intent of this phenomenological research is to create awareness within the education community about the specialized needs of FGCS. Although FGCS appear to form the majority of those attending college, they do not experience privileged based on their race. FGCS often face significant issues in college because their parents have not attended college. Grit provided a significant contribution to the FGCS success in college. For purposes of this research, semistructured interviews were used, and five male and five female participants were recruited to respond to three research questions. Although the participants did not believe race significantly impacted their decisions and experiences toward college, through their responses it was indicated that the level of family sup-port determined whether they attended college as traditional FGCS or nontraditional FGCS. This study suggests that family involvement in education creates the momentum necessary for FGCS to attend college and complete it as traditional students, despite the unforeseeable challenges during the process.

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