Press "Enter" to skip to content

First Generation college students suffer from imposter syndrome; study

Ian Hartman, Contributing Writer

Impostor syndrome is a phenomenon in which people who succeed or do well in life feel that they are undeserving of their accomplishments, according to a study that was published in the Social and Psychological Journal. TIME Magazine says that people with impostor syndrome come in many different shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Typically, the person with impostor syndrome can be found doing large amounts of work, trying to push themselves to “prove they’re not impostors.” 


In a recent study done, results pointed to first generation college students in STEM classes being more likely to suffer from imposter syndrome than their classmates with parents who attended college. Possibly being related to the expectations placed on the first generation students, as they are the first in their family to attend college. It’s understandable with that level of pressure that people in that situation would be strained mentally to some degree. 


818 freshmen and sophomore students at a large U.S. university completed a survey in which they reported their perceptions of classroom competition in their STEM class,” the Psychology Post reads. Afterwards, students filled out a survey describing how much they felt like imposters during class. The researchers found that results from the first generation students leaned more towards feeling like impostors, while that result was much less pronounced in the other students. 


In addition, students in competitive classes were more likely to feel like imposters. “We found that when students think their class is competitive, they feel more like an impostor on a day-to-day basis and this is most problematic for first-generation college students,” one of the researchers told Psypost. Imposter syndrome leads to “less engagement, lower attendance, more thoughts of dropping out and lower course grades.” 


The researchers hope that their findings can be used to help identify students who are struggling with feelings of inadequacy. They believe that their discoveries can be used to create “policy recommendations” that will allow all students to thrive as they try to make a better life for themselves and their children.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: