Potential first-generation college students: The relationship between parental support, parental expectations, and college enrollment
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Students from families with no first-hand college experience face a multitude of challenges in navigating the college-going process. The purpose of this study was to identify factors within the student-parent relationship that influence college enrollment among this group of potential first-generation college students. ELS:2002 parent and student questionnaire data were used. The nationally representative sample of N =1607 students from families with no college experience were evaluated based on: race, SES, mathematics and reading test composite scores, family composition, parental expectations, college discussions between student and parent, parental effort to save for expected post-secondary costs, and parental involvement in high school course selection aimed at college matriculation. Two logistic regression models were used to determine which factors influenced college enrollment. Results indicated that college discussions between parent and child were the strongest predictor of college enrollment among first-generation students. Parental expectations and student composite test scores were also found to be statistically significant. Implications and the practical significance of the findings are discussed.