Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Kristin Woods


First-generation college students--Iowa--Cedar Falls; College students--Iowa--Cedar Falls;


In order to highlight potential differences between first-generation college students (FGS), defined as neither parent having completed a Bachelor’s degree, and continuing-generation students (CGS), this study compares FGS and CGS in terms of self-efficacy, campus involvement, and academic performance measured by grade point average (GPA) during their first year at a university. In order to investigate these relationships, this study utilizes University of Northern Iowa (UNI)’s 2015-2016 Mapworks data. Mapworks is a voluntary survey that first-year students, including freshmen and transfer students, complete during the fall and spring semesters. A total of 1549 first-year students participated in the 2015-16 survey, and 646 self-identified as FGS while 903 self-identified as CGS. This study used t-tests to compare FGS and CGS in terms of their responses to the self-efficacy and campus involvement Mapworks questions as well as their official GPAs in the fall and spring semesters. Results showed there is a statistically significant difference between FGS and CGS in terms of students’ expected GPA, intent to be involved in a student organization, fall GPA, and spring GPA.

Year of Submission



Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (27 pages)



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