Perspectives from Hmong American Women about the First-­‐Generation College Student Experience


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Jessica Toft


First-generation college students' (FGCS) experience in college is unique. Hmong Americans are pursuing higher education in increasing numbers, and their experience in higher education is examined in this study. Previous research regarding Hmong American FGCS indicates that gender, folk theories of achievement, social and family support, mental health status, acculturation tension, institutional practices, and larger systems all contribute to FGCS' experience in the United States education system. Limited research has been conducted regarding Hmong American women's experience. This study explored the perspectives of female Hmong American FGCS and how gender influences the Hmong American college student experience. Six Hmong American women were interviewed regarding their perspectives and personal experiences in the United States education system. Their responses were coded using the grounded theory method. The findings show that Hmong American women have unique expectations placed on them, they experience a culture clash in college, and the view of higher education is changing for Hmong American women. Implications for social work practice and further research are discussed, including the need to explore how institutional practices affect Hmong American students and to track changing views in the Hmong American community.


Hmong, first-generation college students, higher education

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.