Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Antonina Lukenchuk

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Scott Self

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Myron Pope


First-generation college students (FGCSs) face a myriad of issues when entering higher education. As FGCSs continue to enroll in community colleges at high rates, it is important to discuss their pathways to success in higher education. This qualitative study explored the experiences of FGCSs who attended a community college in Central Texas to learn more about their experiences with being identified as FGCS; what prevents them, if anything, to identify support systems that are conducive to their overall retention and success; and if social capital had relevance to their academic success. Through narrative inquiry, a storytelling approach was utilized to portray the participants’ personal stories of success and what they have overcome. This study also provided a rich understanding of their struggles as FGCSs within the college. After several cycles of coding and data analysis, four major themes emerged from this study: (a) pride and success; (b) sense of belonging and identification as an FGCS; (c) support systems, barriers, and challenges; and (d) social capital and family influence. The data revealed a need for community colleges to identify FGCSs better, establish mentoring programs, and promote success stories of these students so that future FGCSs are better supported.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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