A first-generation college student is someone who is among the first generation of college-goers in their immediate family. To be more specific, the parents of that student never received a college degree.
However, first-generation student is often identified based on different parameters. Sometimes while the parent was enrolled but not graduated from any college is also treated as the first-gen student.
In another way, if one of the parents attended college and graduated, but the other one never did so, then it is also considered as a first-generation student. It is generally tricky for these pupils to come and habituate the college-going culture; they are surfing through an unknown territory after all.
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First-generation College Student
The first generation of college-goers also signifies the progress of the subjected family. Their forefathers never went to college mostly out of monetary trouble.
They were unable to afford the huge expenses of textbooks, study materials, tuition and on the other hand, food and living costs. But now that family can afford that for their next generation, and therefore we have the first-generation, college students.
Enabling the future generations’ college study brings in a ray of hope in the family. It also serves as a token of pride sometimes in the middle-class people of the society.
On the other hand, it starts a positive family culture of more educational growth. The younger generations look up to the first-generation college student as their guide for the endeavour of education, and they feel inspired and motivated as well.
Also Read: When Does College Start?
This creates an unbroken chain of educational standard. This stimulates not only the family growth but also the growth of the society, economy, culture and the nation. Younger siblings prepare themselves to fight harder for being able to be a part of mainstream education because it stands for their pride and economic securities.
Being a first-gen college student is uncomfortable, but greatness comes along with that. These days reputed colleges and universities are designing offers and programs to support and guide first-generation students.
Being in a college is a matter of learning, and with joining colleges first, gen students get free access to their field of study and interests. Most of the first-generation students come from low-income background and minorities, and these college studies turn around their course of life.
Challenges for the First-gen Students
Many studies have shown enormous difficulties for the first-gen students, no matter in whichever way they are defined. The first time they join an institution away from their home and family while being utterly unaware of the college circumstances.
Very often, they come under stress being surrounded by their classmates who are not first-gen, and institutional elitism sometimes comes in their way as a heavy burden to bear.
Studying in a reputed university and being not so well to do monetarily together is not the right combination to have in a student’s life.
Other academical challenges also surface; they have no one back at home to guide them through their course of studies. Lack of experience and being unable to cope up with the flow sometimes cause stress and depression in them.
Thanks to the new age college administrative systems that they are looking at this matter as a sensitive issue. They are also trying to make them feel home through required guidance and support.
First-generation students also have a pressure of doing well in their college studies while keeping the expenses as low as possible. It becomes a nightmare for them sometimes. Because the higher study is costly. And you need to be able to afford each of your required material to understand the concepts and apply them.
Without the knowledge of the proper application of knowledge is useless. They also face troubles socializing with people around and make a new group of friends as compared to the non-first gen students, the study results suggest.
Opportunities for First-gen Students
With a lot of hardship first, gen students arrive at their colleges. So a lot of research and fieldwork is being done to make them feel comfortable and open enough so that they can freely study and socialize in their colleges.
These days a lot of opportunities are also being offered to them from the institutions. Many of the colleges globally are putting in systems by which they can have a proper balance of the first-gen and non-first gen students.
Primary gen pupils are receiving financial aids and mentoring programs from their institution. First-gen students must do research based on their field of interest to know more about the scholarship programs available.
They should also seek help from their good wishers and guides who are well informed about educational systems. In the monetary ground, banks are also providing student loans to first-gen students with a lower interest rate in some cases. This is the right way out if no other monetary support is found.
Being a first-gen student is a privilege and a war simultaneously. So students who are willing to get into their college of dreams must prepare themselves very well from their high schools. First-gen students are almost 30% out of the whole, so you do not need to feel alone if you are one.
Just be strong enough to reach your destination and wise sufficient to fulfil eligibility criteria. The nation and society progress through the commitment of their first-gen students. You need to be responsible for that and willing enough to travel down the problematic way.
Meanwhile, do not forget to enjoy your journey and learn as much as you can. It will be an asset for you during the whole phase of your life. First, gen students are now everywhere in society. It shows their dedication towards the betterment of their circumstances and to curate a better and wise world for the next generation.