Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies


Multi-Disciplinary Program

First Advisor

Lee W. Payne

Second Advisor

Timothy Clipson

Third Advisor

Steve Westbrook

Fourth Advisor

Joyce Johnston


Of the first-time undergraduate students who enroll full-time at a four-year institution of higher education, only about half will complete a degree within six years (Kena et al., 2016), and this figure is even lower for those students whose parents did not attend college (Choy, 2001; Nuñez & Cuccaro-Alamin, 1998; Warburton, Bugarin, & Nuñez, 2001). The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of first-year seminars in increasing the academic success of first-generation college students. The study utilized OLS regressions, logit regressions, and predicted probabilities to examine the effects of first-year seminar completion on four elements of academic success of the firstgeneration student population: first-year grade point averages, first to second-year retention, four-year graduation rates, and six-year graduation rates. The study found that first-generation students who complete the first-year seminar course have higher firstyear GPAs, are more likely to return to the institution after their first year, and are more likely to graduate within six years compared to those who do not complete the first-year seminar. Completion of the first-year seminar does not significantly influence four-year graduation rates. The effects of completing a first-year seminar course on grade point averages, retention, and graduation are not significantly different for first-generation college students compared to continuing-generation college students.

Creative Commons License

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



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