Health and academic success: A look at the challenges of first-generation community college students


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Abstract

Background:Community colleges in the United States serve more than six million students and are the gateway to postsecondary education for individuals from typically underserved populations such as low-income, ethnic minorities, and first-generation college students. First-generation college students are defined as students whose adoptive or natural parents’ highest level of education was a high school diploma or less. Postsecondary education has the potential to reduce both health and socioeconomic disparities. First-generation community college students face significant economic, social, and cultural barriers to academic success and are the most at risk for “dropping-out.”Purpose:The purpose of this brief report was to explore what is known about social, psychological, and physical factors that impede first-generation community college students’ academic success.Conclusion:Little is known about potential health and psychological barriers experienced by first-generation community college students that impact academic achievement. Advanced practice nurses (APNs) on community college campuses are in the ideal position to identify and treat health issues, and conduct much-needed research into these areas. College health centers are an important practice setting for APNs to provide direct care to students as well as influence college policies that improve student health, well-being, and promote academic success.

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