With increasing college access rates of underrepresented populations in recent years, first-generation college students (FGCSs), those who are the first in their family to attend college, have caught the attention of researchers and policymakers in the U.S. higher education system. This study focused on female FGCSs to identify the various challenges that are unique to this population. Through a systematic literature review, 13 studies were analyzed related to female FGCSs. Three themes were found from the analysis: role expectations, support systems, and socioeconomic background. These explain the challenges and self-identified strategies that female FGCSs discussed as contributing factors to their persistence during their degree attainment. Findings and a discussion of the data are presented, along with practical implications to better support female FGCSs and areas for future research.


underrepresented students, student success, retention, female college students



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Creative Commons License
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