Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Rita Cano Alcala

Reader 2

Azamat Junisbai

Rights Information

2022 Jissel Garay


This qualitative research project examines the experiences of Latinx, first-generation college students at the Claremont Colleges. This project also focuses on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on this group of students’ academics, mental health, and communication with professors. The project is based on ten hour-long, semi-structured interviews that were conducted with students that identify as Latinx, first-generation, and attending the Claremont Colleges during Spring of the 2020-2021 academic year. The project centers the voices of an underrepresented group of students and captures a time in history when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Claremont Colleges to close their campuses, evacuate its students, and transition to online learning. Findings reveal first-generation students experience social and cultural challenges that stem from attending a primarily white institution, students feel academically unprepared by their past schooling, and value familial involvement in the college experience. Research also highlights the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their college experience and mental health. Overall, Latinx, first-generation students felt the pandemic negatively affected their academic performance, mental health, and communication with professors. These results shed light on important issues that are still affecting students, impacting their academic performance, and mental health.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.