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Year of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

MALS: Social Sciences

Directing Professor

Andy Matzner


This thesis focuses on a particular group of college students – first-generation college student-athletes. The author researched and interviewed twenty different first-generation student-athletes to learn about the effect of collegiate sport participation on motivation to graduate. Studies prove that first-generation college students tend to struggle more than a traditional college student. This thesis takes a look at athletic benefits, relationships with athletic personnel and teammates, and other on and off campus influences.

After the interviews and researching other valuable sources such as the NCAA, the author found that participation in college athletics does have a positive effect on matriculation for first-generation student-athletes. Through the use of academic tutors and advisors, strong relationships with teammates and coaches, and other resources, those first-generation students who participated in college athletics felt more driven and confident to graduate from their respected institutions.