This research investigated an underrepresented group in colleges, universities, and other higher learning institutions: White, working-class first-generation students. This group is majorly disregarded as a racial minority and faces adverse changes due to its diverse and low-income quality. It has, in turn, led to a high dropout rate, especially for first-year and second-year students who succumb to various challenges. This study looked at the challenges, research, and strategies in place to aid these students in their endeavors and ensure they have a good environment to navigate these challenges in a sound and confident manner.
The challenges identified were financial and emotional difficulties stemming from low-income backgrounds that could not support their daily and educational needs, resulting in depression due to anxiety. Academic and social experiences also contributed to these challenges since these college students could not easily assimilate into college life due to said difficulties. Their social life on campus was almost nonexistent as they could not engage in extracurricular activities such as study groups that would constitute a healthy social engagement. This, coupled with the fact that most universities are for the elite and economically privileged, marginalizes this group.
According to Zandy’s (2011) research, particularly cultured and financially fortunate children go to top colleges where they pursue academic interests; working-class and lower-middle-class youngsters go to more cheap, less reputable schools wherein they prepare for employment and collect a debt. Mentoring is an essential strategy program for first-generation students. Mentoring includes research and academic assistance, career assistance, and personal consideration. According to the data, mentoring has a significant demonstrable influence on student resilience and attrition. The effective encounters learners had been described by the relationship that met their social and academic needs.