In First-Generation Student Experiences in Higher Education: Counterstories, we meet eight students who attended university through an access program, and hear their stories of deciding to enter university, navigating the institution, and bringing their university experiences with them into adult life. Their "counterstories"—drawn from application statements, weekly group meetings, diary entries, group conversations, interviews, and media reports—challenge the stereotypes commonly applied to marginalized students in higher education. Chapters offer insights into a range of salient themes and highlight the students’ strategies, challenges, successes, and trajectories, as well as their nuanced relationships with their networks, communities, families, and significant others. With this volume, James and Taylor present a valuable resource for educators, administrators, scholars, students and community agencies interested in extending understandings of first-generation university students.

Preface: Understanding the Lives, Experiences, and Ambitions of First-Generation University Students;  1 Marginalized Youth in Postsecondary Institutional Contexts;  2 Kofi—"Education Will Get You to the Station": The Possibilities of Merit in University Education;  3 Tristana—"Education is a Way to Fight Oppression": Giving Back to the Community;  4 Laura—"I am Determined to Make Other Choices for My Life": Education as a Path to Upward Social Mobility;  5 Sam—"If I’m Portuguese, I Can’t Be Gay": Negotiating Identity in a University Space;  6 Jasmine—"I am Determined to Break Away From my Antiquated Tradition": Education as Survival;  7 Amy—"I Don’t Need to be Held Down by the Shackles of My Misery": Balancing Stigma, Pride, and Expectations;  8 Ewart—"I Really Wasn’t Ready": Expectations and Dilemmas in Navigating University;  9 Jafari—"I Felt Alone and Out of Place": The Experiences and Ambition of a "Non-Canadian";  Conclusion: Reimagining Postsecondary Education