Date of Conferral







Stacy Wahl


Many first-generation students enter college underprepared, leading them to face challenges that include failure to persist to degree completion. Empirical literature informs how academic advising programs help students persist to degree completion; however, a literature gap exists related to how regularly required academic advising programs influence students to persist to degree completion. This basic qualitative study provides insight into the perceptions of first-generation college graduates regarding how their regularly required academic advising sessions helped them to persist to degree completion. The conceptual framework is Tinto’s theory of student retention, which addresses students’ academic and social integration. Eight first-generation college graduates who participated in regularly required academic advising from an institution that administered the program served as study participants. One-on-one semi-structured interviews with the participants were the means of data collection. The data were hand coded and in vivo coded to conduct thematic analysis. The themes extracted from that data included goals and commitments, institutional experiences, personal normative integration, and outcomes. The results fill a gap in the published literature on how regularly scheduled advising sessions assist first-generation college students in persisting to graduation. As such, the results of this study add to the body of knowledge related to supporting first-generation college students. Positive social change will be realized if more colleges implement this intervention to help first-generation college student persist to graduation and meet their learning goals.