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This population of first-generation students is ripe for study because of their growing prominence on college campuses across the nation. The existing literature on FGS takes a more specific approach through looking at individual measures that are taken to support FGS such as the role of “academic self-concept,” how FGS negotiate the multiple identities they represent while in college, and how to retain students from low-income backgrounds (DeFreitas & Rinn, 2013; Orbe, 2004; Thayer, 2000). These studies are valuable because they bring information to the people that support FGS in assisting support staff with the understanding of their unique hurdles to academic achievement. An understanding of the challenges of FGS can make the college environment equitable for all students. In my study I want to step back and look at the larger acclimation process that FGS complete, when encountering a new environment such as the college culture. Also I hope to build an understanding of the acclimation process that travelers complete and draw comparisons between the experiences of travelers and FGS. This understanding could then allow me and others to assist FGS with the transitions they will experience while in college. The following research question will be utilized to guide this study: How do first generation students acclimate themselves to the residential campus culture?


Senior thesis recommended for publication by Jill Weber, associate professor of communication studies.