Supporting the First Generation College Students and their Parents from Rural Areas

    Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


    It is universally acknowledged that first-generation college students (FGCSs) encounter more stress and challenges than non-FGCSs, such as finances and a lack of college-educated role models. If the FGCSs come from rural families, they will have to face even more problems which directly resulted in lower college satisfaction levels and higher risks of dropping out. Currently, over 70 percent of university students in China are FGCSs, and 69.74% of them have rural roots; it is believed that this group of rural FGCSs will become the main group of college students in China in this decade. In hopes of promoting the equity and quality of higher education, it is important to identify the problems that rural FGCSs encounter to inform policy and practices to provide better support for them.

    Past studies confirmed that parents functioned as the important emotional support for FGCSs to continue their study, therefore, the well-being of the parents is also critical. However, less is known about the personal and emotional struggles that parents of rural FGCSs experienced. Since parents are the necessary emotional anchor for FGCSs to continue in college, this study analysed students’ write-ups that recorded mealtime conversations of 103 rural families in China. This helps to identify the frustration encountered by both FGCSs (e.g. lack of concrete strategies to cope with the college transition and choose their study major) and their parents (e.g. lack of knowledge and experience about the higher education system, and being unprepared to separate from their children who are leaving for college) during the college transition. This study recommends universities provide more support for FGCSs and their parents, including setting up more FGCSs scholarships, launching parents-student university orientation week, and promoting career planning workshops to rural secondary schools.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023
    EventJoLII-GINTL Global Conference 2023: Education for the Future - University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 15 Aug 202316 Aug 2023


    ConferenceJoLII-GINTL Global Conference 2023
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