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First-generation college seniors navigating tension between home and school at a four-year, residential institution: A narrative study
Stoll Turton, Elizabeth Buffy A.

2015, Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, Educational Leadership.
One in six students at American four-year universities is a first-generation student. First-generation students, defined in this study as those whose parents did not attend a four-year university, encounter unique tensions as they navigate the disparate worlds of home and school.

This constructivist narrative study of first-generation student experiences explores the success stories of eight diverse first-generation seniors at Miami University – a selective, four-year, residential institution in Oxford, Ohio. The study resists a deficient perspective on first-generation students, instead telling the stories of participants who have successfully navigated tension between the worlds of home and school, and accomplished their goal of graduating from college.

Though nearly all research in this area focuses on first-generation students’ transitions to college, this study found that tension between home and school persisted throughout participants’ college experiences. This persistent tension is identified and described in three non-linear realms: tension of transition, tension of identity, and tension of success. The study describes how participants experienced a temporal dimension of tension between their past and future worlds within these realms, and identifies participants’ commitment to a college future as a powerful source of motivation for persistence amidst home/school tension.

Implications for practice underscore the importance of validation for first-generation students from campus peers, faculty, and staff; the value of safe space for building authentic connections with others in their college world; and the responsibility of four-year institutions to transform institutional culture in order to provide such validation and support for first-generation students as they negotiate tension between the worlds of home and school. Particular implications for practice include targeted outreach for first-generation students in the areas of pre-semester transition programs, career exploration and development, and study abroad.
Elisa Abes (Committee Chair)
Kathleen Goodman (Committee Member)
David Perez, II (Committee Member)
John Jeep (Committee Member)
205 p.

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Stoll Turton, E. (2015). First-generation college seniors navigating tension between home and school at a four-year, residential institution: A narrative study. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Stoll Turton, Elizabeth Buffy. "First-generation college seniors navigating tension between home and school at a four-year, residential institution: A narrative study." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2015. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 Oct 2017.

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Stoll Turton, Elizabeth Buffy "First-generation college seniors navigating tension between home and school at a four-year, residential institution: A narrative study." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2015. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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