Latinos'intent to persist in Community College: a comparison between the experiences of first- and non-first generation Latino community college students in San Diego County, California

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This master’s thesis answers the question how the intent to persist is formed for first-­‐generation Latino community college students and how this differs from non-­‐first-­‐generation Latino community college students in San Diego. This is vital, since Latinos in the United States have the lowest percentage of graduates and first-­‐generation Latino students have an even lower persistence rate than non-­‐first-­‐generation Latino students (Reyes and Nora 2012). I have created statements about Latino student persistence, which aided me to conduct semi-­‐structured interviews with first-­‐ and non-­‐first-­‐generation Latino students at Southwestern Community College. I conclude that students from both groups have formed a strong desire to succeed in college prior to college and that this desire has been reinforced on campus. The only difference is that the first-­‐generation students have less time available to study or be involved in college than non-­‐first-­‐generation Latino students, because of their financial worries. Though, the non-­‐first-­‐generation students, who also struggled financially, had just as little time available as the first-­‐generation students. While Reyes and Nora argue for more comparative research between first-­‐ and non-­‐first-­‐generation students, this thesis concludes that more meaningful results can be found, when the students are instead differentiated by their social statuses.
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