Interview, survey, and academic transcript data with a diverse sample of first-generation college (FGC) and continuing generation college (CGC) premedical intended emerging adults are analyzed to study academic outcomes and any differences in the availability and use of social capital the first year of college. CGC students know many people with college degrees including those in careers they aspire to obtain, while FGC students do not. All students identify parents as very important forms of social capital who contribute to their success in college, but the types of support differs by educational background. Students whose parents have at least a bachelor’s degree (CGC) are “pulled” through their first year with specific advice from their parents about how to succeed in college, while FGC students are “pushed” by their parents with support. In addition, CGC students display evidence of enacting Lareau’s concept of concerted cultivation, being much more likely than FGC students to approach and gain assistance from professors, openly critiquing those professors and classes in which they are not doing well and showing a sense of entitlement to and confidence in their ability to stay on the premedical track, even when receiving low test scores.
Nichols, L., & Islas, Á. (2016). Pushing and Pulling Emerging Adults Through College: College Generational Status and the Influence of Parents and Others in the First Year. Journal of Adolescent Research, 31(1), 59–95.