Opportunities, Obstacles, and Options: First-Generation College Graduates and Social Cognitive Career Theory

  • Olson J
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First-generation college (FGC) students often encounter a campus environment and set of norms that are substantially different from those they previously experienced. Although the literature exploring the challenges facing these students is growing, less attention has been given to their experiences as they graduate and transition from college to work. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT) has been suggested as a useful framework for helping individuals during the early stages of their careers by exploring the individual's self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal goals. In addition, SCCT considers the influence of contextual supports and barriers, which may be influencing the ongoing career development of FGC students after they graduate. This article explores the ways SCCT may prove particularly helpful when working with FGC graduates. Several case studies highlighting key challenges facing FGC graduates are also presented.

Author-supplied keywords

  • college graduate
  • college to work transition
  • first-generation college student
  • social cognitive career theory

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  • Joann S. Olson

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