Source (Journal name, date of publication):
The Career Development Quarterly—March 2010—Volume 58
What was the purpose of this research?
The authors identified differences in self-efficacy and outcome expectations between prospective first-generation college students (PFGCS) and their non-PFGCS peers.
If applicable, who were the participants, and what were they asked to do?
In a single southeastern state, 272 seventh graders from four middle schools completed the College-Going Self-Efficacy Scale, the Perception to Educational Barriers Scale, the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale, and the College-Going Outcome Expectations Scale. Participants also provided demographic data and their parents completed a short survey.
Major findings or points:
The authors found that PFGCSs were more likely to be Hispanic/Latino, much less likely to be in a higher level math course, and experienced lower college-going self-efficacy than their non-PFGCS peers. PFGCSs identified more barriers to college-going expectations, less parental support, and lower positive outcome expectations than their non-PFGCS peers. The authors suggested that social-cognitive career theory should be modified to account for the effect of PFCGS’s perceived barriers and supports.
This study was conducted in just one U.S. state and the response rate was relatively low, which limits generalizability. Also, the study relied upon student self-report data, which might not have been completely accurate or truthful.
In general, PFGCSs experience higher education differently from their non-PFGCS peers and the finding can be used to better assist these students. When working with this population, counselors should pay close attention to students’ perceived barriers and supports in addition to their sense of self-efficacy. In order to improve PFGCS’ intentions, interests, and goals, counselors should work to increase their positive outcome expectations and take care to challenge negative outcome expectations.