Rendering the First-Year Experience: Experiences of Successful Foster Alumni College Students
Author(s): Kearney, K. S., Will, L., & Satterfield, J. W.
Citation: Kearney, K. S., Will, L., & Satterfield, J. W. (2019). Rendering the First-Year Experience: Experiences of Successful Foster Alumni College Students. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 31(2), 95-115.
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences foster alumni college students (i.e., students who, as adolescents, were in foster care or other out-of-home conditions) considered pertinent during their first year in college. Ten self-identified foster alumni college students in a south central state participated. Interviews, participant-produced drawings, and an online questionnaire were sources of data. Participants' experiences with trauma and lack of family support played prominent roles in their integrations into higher education, particularly in terms of creating new relationships. However, participants also reported experiences with academics, finances, peer groups, and concerns about sharing their foster backgrounds. Findings further supported the differences between foster alumni and first-generation students more generally.