VISTAS Counseling College Students

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

A New Retention Variable: Hope and First Generation College Students

Cyrus R. Williams and S. Kent Butler


Each year hundreds of thousands of students filled with excitement, enthusiasm, and hope begin their academic careers at colleges and universities across the country. Freshman entering into their initial college experience are often faced with a host of transition issues; to circumvent these issues, college administrators and practitioners are charged with providing these students with retention strategies to help them overcome the normal cognitive, social, and transitional problems related to the first year college experience (Barefoot, 2004). To that end, college administrators create and implement a variety of retention programs and activities designed to support student achievement (Swail, 2004). Especially important to consider when designing and assessing these programs are first generation college students. First generation college students are learners whose parents have either not attended college or completed a college degree (Billson & Terry, 1982); these students are also among the least likely to continue their studies and pursue post-secondary degrees (Thayer, 2000).

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