Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in First Year Studies


First-Year and Transition Studies

Committee Chair

Danelle Dyckhoff Stelzride, Ph.D

Additional Committee Member

Stephanie M. Foote, Ph.D

Additional Committee Member

Jennifer Wells, Ph.D


Mentoring programs have been implemented at institutions across the nation, with both intentional collaborations with different subpopulations of students and random pairing of mentees and mentors (Kuh et al., 2010). For first-generation students, mentoring may be a vital component of success. Since there was an increase in self-efficacy and sense of belonging in this study, the use of mentorship with first-generation students could become a more predominant and recognized practice, therefore helping this population of first-year students to become less “invisible” and more supported and celebrated. To measure the effect of mentoring on various aspects of collegiate success, approximately 40 first-generation students were surveyed during their first semester of enrollment at Kennesaw State University. These students were all enrolled in a “First-Gen Owls” Learning Community designed specifically for first-generation students at Kennesaw State University. These students were also connected to a group of faculty and staff mentors that were asked to help to motivate, support, and coach the students in this learning community. After completing the survey, students and mentors were asked to continue to connect on their own terms, allowing connections to form. At the conclusion of the student’s first semester, a follow-up survey was given, along with the facilitation of a focus group. As a result of this study, it was found that mentorship had a positive correlation with the student’s sense of belonging, self-efficacy, and perceptions of mentoring. This study also found that the student’s academic self-efficacy declined as the semester progressed. It was also found that students believed that the information shared by their mentor was impactful, comforting, and assisted the student in feeling more supported at the institution.