Online Guide for First Generation College Students

For the first in their families to go to college, it’s a new experience for everyone. There are applications, admissions, financial aid, scholarships, course loads, and so much more. This guide provides first-gen college students with the information and resources they need to get their college journeys started on the right foot.

Meet the Expert
Arelis Benítez

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Arelis Benítez is a practical theologian and doctoral student at Vanderbilt University. She is a first-generation daughter of Mexican immigrant parents and a recipient of the Posse Foundation scholarship which facilitated her entrance to academic education.  

In most cases, first-generation college students are defined as the first individuals in their immediate family to pursue a college degree. The Center for First-Generation Student Success defines a first-generation college student as an undergraduate whose parents do not possess a four-year degree. It is important that colleges and universities, admissions committees, academic advisors, high school counselors, and related parties pay attention to the needs of first-generation college students. In many cases, they face academic, cultural, and financial challenges that other degree-seekers may not. Even if prospective first-generation students find themselves enrolled in a college or university, one in three students in this demographic will quit college within three years.

Using the information in this guide can save prospective first-generation college students time, energy, and even hard-earned money. We offer a detailed breakdown of the college journey that first-generation students endure today, from early preparation and applying to degree programs to finding scholarships and getting the most out of their time as a student.

Why Being a First-Generation College Student Matters

First-generation students may experience a number of hurdles, both internal and external, that makes pursuing and completing a college degree quite different and more difficult than many realize. In this section, we take a close look at some of the challenges that these first-time college students face and what resources are out there to help them.

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First-Generation College Student Facts

  • First-generation learners more likely to attend community colleges: Nearly 25% of students with college-educated parents attend community colleges, compared to 50% of first-generation students.
  • First-generation students are more likely to be 30 years old or above:  Compared to 16% of continuing-generation students, approximately 28% of first-generation learners are 30 years old or older.
  • First-generation students are less likely to be able to enroll as full-time learners: Compared to 75% of continuing-generation students, only 65% of first-generation students enroll in college full-time.
  • In 2018, first-generation students worked more outside of school: While 66% and 61% of first-generation students and continuing-generation students, respectively, held employment outside of school, first-generation learners worked almost twice as many median hours per week than continuing generation students.

Challenges of First-Generation College Students

Many people experience difficulty with paying their bills. Perhaps it’s only for a month or two while they are in transition between jobs or are dealing with a sudden medical crisis. Or perhaps the problem is longer-lasting, and they are struggling every week just to make ends meet. Regardless of the reasons why, it’s important that everyone knows where to find the resources they need if they run low on cash and need some assistance.

1Challenge #1:  
Understanding the Process

For students whose parents did not attend college, applying to school, gathering the essential application materials, and studying for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT can be very challenging tasks.

Solution

Students in these scenarios need sufficient guidance from their high school teachers and counselors. Additionally, school counselors and prospective first-generation students need to find ways to actively involve the student’s parents or guardians in the process.

Support and Resources

Parent Toolkit: What First-Generation Students’ Families Should Do Before ApplyingThis site provides a detailed checklist for parents and students as they begin the college application process.

College Advising CorpsThis company offers in-school and virtual services to help students from first-generation, low income, or underrepresented high schools to navigate the college admission process, financial aid, and enrollment issues.

2Challenge #2:  
Paying for College

There’s no doubt that for most students and parents college tuition is extremely expensive. Financial planning for such an undertaking is no small feat and can be even more difficult for first-generation students. While having good test scores and grades can help you obtain a notable amount of scholarship money or financial aid, it is important that first-generation students exhaust all of their options for funding their education.

Solution

First and foremost, students need to fill out the free application for federal student aid, or the “FAFSA,” which allows them to be considered for financial aid from the federal government. The FAFSA is among the most important things you can do for your education and it is totally free. It is also important to apply for as many scholarships as possible, provided you meet the required criteria.

Support and Resources

TheCollegeBoard.orgThis site offers fast facts about the FAFSA and tips for applying. Additionally, first-generation learners should talk to friends, high school counselors, teachers. Even if you find what seems like enough information online about financial preparation and paying for college, it can also be helpful to talk to your friends, teachers, and counselors in your high school to get more information in-person. This also gives you the chance to ask them questions. These contacts can be especially helpful when searching for scholarships, too, particularly local and regional sources of funding that you may easily overlook while using online searches.

3Challenge #3:
Feeling Out-of-Place

After enrolling in a college or university, first-generation students may feel like they’re out-of-place, uncomfortable, or they don’t have the skills to handle this new academic challenge. These feelings can come from any number of sources, and can certainly be a common experience for all college students. Feelings of being out of place can be exacerbated for first-generation students who are part of minority communities. According to the League for Innovation in the College Community (League), studies have shown that non-minority students often unrightfully question whether their minority peers gained admission to colleges on their own merit–that their college admittance was based on affirmative action only rather than their academic abilities. This can exacerbate any feelings of inadequacy or lack of self-esteem that many first-generation learners may have.

Resolution

While the feelings and actions of non-minority and continuing-generation college students described above is indicative of several, much larger problems in what we might call “college culture” and American society more broadly, there are ways that parents and colleges can help these students feel like they’re in the right place and remind them that they deserve it and earned it.

Support and Resources

First-generation college students highly benefit from meetings with counselors, participating in student organizations, working in on-campus work-study positions, and making new friends. While easier said than done, it is important for first-generation college students to build outside social circles and rely less on their families for that type of support, according to League.

4Challenge #4:
Guilt

Sometimes first-generation college students leave behind their families to attend school and feel guilty for it. In many cases, they are an integral part of how that family functions on a daily basis and may even contribute significantly in a financial way. This is especially true for immigrant families where the student may be the only English speaker in the family. Additionally, the student may come from a family where there is an expected kind of “intergenerational continuity” for work roles, religious aspects of life, and more.

Resolution

Feelings of guilt are quite common among first-generation students. Students may be putting pressure on themselves or receiving pressure or guilt from home. While it is easier said than done, they need professional support and valuable resources to deal with these challenging experiences.

Support and Resources

Should you feel overwhelmed about leaving your family or experience guilt for pursuing opportunities in college, be sure to contact the psychological counseling services on campus to get help in dealing with these feelings. Additionally, one of the best ways for first-generation students to get beyond feelings of guilt, loneliness, or homesickness is for them to more fully integrate into campus life. Be sure to consider all of the social opportunities and student groups available to you on campus. These are designed to help you, not only because they provide a break from academics but because they offer valuable social opportunities that can improve your overall enjoyment of college.

5Challenge #5:
Usage of On-Campus Resources

According to FacultyFocus.com, first-generation college students are statistically much less likely to use on-campus resources such as advising and academic support services. In fact, continuing generation students are twice as likely to use on-campus resources than first-generation students. Disparities among the use of on-campus resources may be related to first-generation students’ inability to access resources because of outside commitments, including part-time jobs. There could also be a general lack of visibility of these resources for first-generation learners.

Resolution

Colleges and universities need to make sure that all students, especially first-generation students, are aware of the on-campus resources available to them. Additionally, institutions need to be sensitive to the fact that many students work jobs during the day while they are not attending class. With this in mind, hours of operation can be extended to meet the demands of the busy student lifestyle. Additionally, institutions should provide better training for faculty and staff members, as they are the ones most frequently interacting with students. Faculty and staff can direct first-generation students to the resources on campus that will help them get the most of their education, support them emotionally and academically, and improve their quality of life.

Support and Resources

Upon learning of your acceptance to school, you should reach out to the admissions office to learn about available resources before you even get to campus. These types of support services can hide under a wide variety of categories, including titles such as student life, support program staff, academic advising, financial aid counseling, student activities, various on-campus committees, and more. If applicable, students can also check with their RA in their dorms for more resources, as well as the library, first-generation student centers, multicultural affairs offices, and parent and family programs. Your school may offer online resources that provide helpful tips for first-generation students and their parents on how to take advantage of on-campus resources, many of which are universally helpful for all college-level learners.

Why It’s Important for First-Generation College Students to Succeed

Linda Banks-Santilli, who has written about being a former first-generation college student, is now professor. She highlights the challenges of first-generation students both from her own perspective and from her students’ experiences today. She writes that first-generation students may decide to go to college because it is a way of bringing honor to their families. She points out that 69% of first-generation learners see college as a way to meet the requirements for their preferred profession as well as to help their families financially. For comparison, only 39% of continuing-generation students picture their prospective degree in this light.

  • Many first-generation degree-seekers see college as an opportunity toward better careers with upward mobility and higher earning potential. In this way, degree-holders can have an opportunity to break cycles of poverty that may have been part of their family’s history.
  • Additionally, a degree and a successful career may position graduates to make contributions to their communities and help others pursue college-level studies.
  • A successful college experience as a first-generation student can also help them develop a newfound sense of independence and individual self-worth.

How First-Generation College Students Can Ensure Their Own Success

Earning a college degree is hard to work for just about everyone who steps foot on a campus. Your success in college is, in part, related to your access to resources and what you do with them, as well as how prepared you are to take on college-level studies. Here are some things to keep in mind to give yourself the best chance for success in your program.

5 Traits of a Successful First-Gen College Student

As we’ve seen from the information above, the experience of first-generation college students can be more trying and difficult than other college-level learners. There are both physical and mental preparations and precautions you can take to ensure that you are giving yourself a chance to do your best school work, acclimate to college life, and practice self-care.

1

Preparedness ahead of time

Saying “I’ll figure it out when I get there” is not the best approach to starting your college experience. Do your best to take advantage of online resources and talk with advisors and other students before you begin school. Consider the links at the end of this guide for some good online information and starting points.

2

Sharpen relevant skills in advance

While it is important to enjoy any leisure time you may have before entering school, you will find it helpful to engage in some writing and reading activities before you head to school. It can also be helpful to exercise these basic skills during summer semesters if you have time off.

3

Organization

It is essential for all college students to be organized. Consider keeping a hard copy planner with you to ensure that you keep track of all of your academic deadlines, appointments, and social obligations. Digital planners can also be useful but be sure to save and back-up all of your data regularly.

4

A good work-life balance

It is easy to get burned out in school, so it is important that you balance leisure time and relaxation with your academic work.

5

Being responsible with time and energy

In order to get the most out of your academic experience, you need to get enough rest, give yourself enough time to complete assignments, and are otherwise responsible outside of the classroom. It can certainly be necessary to spend late nights studying while you’re in school, but sleep is one of the most essential things for a healthy mind and body.

Checklist and Timeline for First-Generation College Students

Keeping track of everything you need to do to prepare for college, as well as the essentials for when you arrive, is no small task. Consider the following timeline as a guide. Your own timeline may end up looking quite different than this, but this illustrates a general flow of events and a checklist to help you keep track of essential components of the process.

Prior to Senior Year of High School

  • Focus on grades
    Your grades are an important part of your college application. It is essential that you keep up with your academics throughout the duration of high school, not just the last couple of years.
  • Make time for extracurriculars
    College admissions committees are also interested in activities, groups, and projects you participate in outside of the classroom. While these can be time-consuming, it is important that you make space for extracurricular activities, especially if they relate in some way to your intended college major or future career.
  • Advanced-placement courses
    If you are academically prepared and have the opportunity to do so, completing advanced-placement courses while in high school can better prepare you for college-level studies and make your applications more attractive to college admissions committees.
  • Meet regularly with advisors and guidance counselors
    It is easy to become short-sighted while completing high school requirements. Regular meetings with your advisors or guidance counselors can ensure that you keep your eyes on the prize and adequately prepare for college applications, standardized tests, and more.
  • Prepare for the SAT or ACT
    Many colleges and universities today still require standardized test scores as part of your application. It can be helpful to begin studying for these exams during your sophomore or junior year of high school to make sure you have enough time to prepare.

Senior Year of High School

  • September
    As you enter your senior year, you will need to take some serious steps in preparation for college applications. While it is an exciting time to enter your last year of high school, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of the first things you should do, probably in September of that year, is register for the SAT or ACT exams. Additionally, it can be beneficial to meet with guidance counselors to make sure you are on track to graduate by double-checking your high school’s graduation requirements. You may also want to ask a few teachers to write you letters of recommendation for your college applications. The more time you can give them the better.
  • October
    Early in their senior years, many students make plans to visit college campuses as they finalize a list of schools that plan to apply to. Depending on when you registered, you may be taking the ACT or SAT in October. It is also wise to complete and submit to your FAFSA to ensure you are considered for federal funding. This is also a good time to request copies of your academic transcripts from your high school so you have them in hand sooner than later. For students who want to apply to college during the “early decision” or “early action” application timeline, you will likely need to submit everything during October, although timelines may vary among schools.
  • November
    During this month, many high school students begin to prepare their written materials for all of their school applications. You should also research local, regional, and national scholarships that might help you obtain free money to help fund your education. Additionally, at this early stage in the application process, it may be smart to tidy up your social media accounts and consider what information you’ve posted that is visible to the public.
  • December/January
    Submit your applications to your schools, if you have not done so already. If you plan on taking a year off between high school and college, now is a good time to consider “gap year” options.
  • February
    Continue to apply for scholarships and keep an eye out for any acceptance letters that might be coming your way.

Freshman Year of College

  • As mentioned earlier, it can be highly beneficial for you to join any first-generation student groups at your school. Additionally, you may be able to participate in special orientation events either during the summer before your freshman year or shortly after you arrive.
  • Seek out academic support resources on campus before your semester becomes hectic. This will give you a chance to consider all of your options before you are under the stress of writing papers and studying for exams.
  • Try not to overload yourself with coursework and extracurricular activities during your first semester. You may need to enroll in a certain number of credits to be considered a full-time student, if that is your goal. It will be helpful, however, if you carve out enough time for your academics and social life during this first year.
  • Undergraduate degree plans usually allow students several credits to take elective courses. Do not be afraid to take a class in an unfamiliar area. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it and what you learn.
  • Students from all walks of life experience stress and self-doubt in school. Despite the unfortunate stigma that still surrounds psychological counseling or other types of counseling services, do not hesitate to locate a professional on campus to talk through any academic or personal troubles you may be having. These professionals are readily available for a reason and you should take advantage of their services at any time, without hesitation. Your appointments with psychological services are completely confidential and private, and there’s no shame in getting a little help when you need it.

How Colleges Support First-Generation Students

With a recent increase in awareness of the needs of first-generation students, many colleges and universities today are taking extra steps to ensure these students get the support they need to succeed. In this section, we take a look at some of the characteristics of those schools that go the extra mile to support first-generation learners.

10 Ways Schools Can Help Their First-Generation Students

1

Involve the family

Schools with workshops that educate parents and guardians of first-generation students, for example, show that they want this kind of support to be a team effort.

2

Provide ways for first-generation students to connect with other students and programs

First-generation student-friendly schools provide easy access to a variety of resources, such as mentorship programs with older students.

3

Presence in high schools

It is important that first-generation students understand that there are options out there for them. Colleges and universities that invest in reaching out to prospective college students at the high school level shows great initiative.

4

Summer bridge programs

These programs are designed to help students acclimate to college life by giving them an opportunity to meet faculty members, learn more about support services at the school, and interact with other first-generation students.

5

Tailored orientations

Some schools go the extra mile by including orientation programs, workshops, or meetings that cater to the needs of first-generation students.

6

Designated school employees or office

Be on the lookout for schools that have stand-alone programs or branches of existing offices, such as an office of multicultural learning and diversity, that provide special services for first-generation learners.

7

Explicit written support, online and hardcopy materials

Keep an eye out for schools that are vocal about their support for first-generation students, and make these special resources known in-person, in school literature and on their website.

8

Living-learning communities

 Some schools offer on-campus housing options that allow new students with the same academic goals, backgrounds, or interests to live in the same residence halls.

9

Field- or major-specific groups for underrepresented students

Colleges and universities may offer academic achievement and mentorship services that benefit underrepresented students in specific fields. These groups can include academic support, mentorship, in advising opportunities.

10

Scholarship opportunities

First-generation-friendly schools likely have at least one scholarship program that’s reserved for this demographic.

School Spotlights: 5 Schools Focusing on First-Generation Students

1

University of California – Berkeley

The office of undergraduate admissions features a first-generation students resources page. The site includes over a dozen links to the school’s mentorship services, student life options, community resources, and academic achievement initiatives.

2

University of Iowa

Provided by the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, the university features a variety of first-generation student support services, including campus outreach programs, a dedicated student group for first-generation students, and its Upward Bound program for low-income and first-generation learners.

3

Brown University

Brown operates an Undocumented, First-Generation College, and Low-Income Student Center. The center offers programs and services, including the class dissonance series, which increases the visibility of students of working class backgrounds and fosters community building. It also offers a year-long community enrichment program for first-generation college and low-income students.

4

The Catholic University of America

CUA provides a variety of on-campus and off-campus resources. First-generation students can take advantage of group therapy and individual therapy sessions, disability and support services, and student organizations. Student membership groups on campus include a chapter of a nonprofit organization that sponsors women’s education in low-income areas, first-year experience groups, and freshman retreat programs.

5

Kenyon College

Kenyon’s internal resources and programs for first-generation learners include pre-orientation summer meetings for underrepresented students, annual dinners for faculty and staff and first-generation students, and a recognition ceremony for these students’ achievements throughout the academic year.

Scholarships for First-Generation College Students

1

Institute for Study Abroad: First-Generation College Student Scholarship

This achievement-based award provides financial, academic, and professional support for first-generation students who want to study abroad.

2

First-Generation Matching Grant Program

Undergraduate students residing in Florida can apply for this need-based award. Designated for first-generation students, your school determines the application procedures, deadlines, and award amount.

3

Cynthia E. Morgan Memorial Scholarship

Established in 2005, this first-generation student award is for learner’s residing in Maryland. Applicants should be a junior or senior in high school and interested in pursuing a degree in the medical field.

4

Mission Graduates Colleges Connect

Reserved for first-generation students in California, this program offers financial aid, academic and test preparation, career guidance in alumni support, and other support services throughout the duration of the receipt’s four-year degree program.

5

First-Generation Civil Rights Fellowship

Current or aspiring college students can apply, provided they are first-generation learners and interested in pursuing careers that affect positive change for social justice.

6

Walmart Foundation First-Generation Scholarship

This award is for students planning on attending a historically black college, have financial need,  and are first-generation students.

7

Miranda Scholarship

Reserved for first-generation college students majoring in music, dance, or theater, this award requires applicants to possess a 2.5 or higher GPA and participate in a live audition/interview.

8

Red Thread Foundation for Women Scholarship

First-generation learners from underrepresented groups who need financial assistance can apply. Applicants should plan on pursuing a full-time undergraduate degree majoring in one of several concentrations, including architecture, math, science, transportation management, environmental design, psychology, or Spanish.

9

Atkins Educational Foundation Pathway to Success Scholarship

Reserved for students whose parents, grandparents, and siblings did not attend college, this award is for Florida residents applying to four-year public universities in the state.

10

Fontana Transport Inc. Scholars Program

This award is for women who are foreign students, first-generation Americans, or immigrants who are first-generation college degree-seekers.

Expert Interview: Insight for First-Generation College Students

Arelis Benítez

Arelis Benítez is a practical theologian and doctoral student at Vanderbilt University. She is a first-generation daughter of Mexican immigrant parents and a recipient of the Posse Foundation scholarship which facilitated her entrance to academic education.  

Provided you were given some options to pursue resources, services, or programs that were designed to support first-generation students, can you offer a personal anecdote on how they helped you by increasing your quality of life on-campus/in school or allowed you to work at your fullest potential?

At the time that I entered college, I cannot remember any programs that offered support for first-gen students. If they were there, not once did anyone make mention. The resources that I took advantage of were geared towards the first-year experience, mostly addressing academic support and homesickness. Utilizing the resources available, the focus was to ensure my academic success, which was important but only a small fraction of what I needed. I remember visiting the Academic Support and Enrichment office and explaining that I had a very difficult time with the in-class writing exams due to what I perceived was a language barrier. I explained that it took me longer to understand the question and write the exam within the time frame offered. In response, a letter was sent to my professors which allowed them to extend my writing time by 30 minutes. While this was helpful, in retrospect, I realize that I was not experiencing a language barrier—it was impostor syndrome. Deeper than my fear of knowing significantly less than everyone in the room, was the fear that I would fail my parents and not succeed in college. I carried anticipatory guilt up until commencement because I wondered about their disappointment if I were unable to complete my degree.   

What are some things you wish you knew about on-campus resources for first-gen college students before you arrived at school?

When I first arrived on-campus, I knew that I was the first in my family to attend college but I did not know that there was a term and general understanding behind being “first-generation.” If not for the support of the Posse Foundation, which provided a community of support to help me through the issues faced by minority students in predominantly white institutions, I probably would not have succeeded. In what I have been able to observe, most institutions are still struggling to understand that there is much diversity involved in being a first-generation college student and greater focus on the impact of social location, cultural awareness, family life, and much more is needed. I wish I knew that even the best resources I received on-campus were ill-equipped to provide wholistic care. Most of the resources focused on academic success, which makes sense, but in the absence of addressing the social and emotional, it only kept me within the source of stress. I also wish I had known that lack of representation in the leadership team directly affected my ability to disclose the extent of my fears. Not seeing leaders who looked like me, further confirmed my own ability to succeed. I was void of role models on-campus.

What advice do you have for prospective first-generation college students who are in high school and getting ready to apply for colleges? 

Claim first-gen as a marker of identity, don’t let it shatter your confidence in the application process; it’s your gift. Make time to intentionally consider the environment you wish to be immersed in and let that speak to which campus you may wish to apply. Feeling integrated in the community is vital for your overall well-being and success. Do not ignore the stress and anxiety around the application process. This is just as exciting as it is terrifying because, you know, the possibility of rejection. It could be very lonely because your family doesn’t know how to walk you through it and you feel pressured to figure it out on your own but do not isolate. Do not feel ashamed to ask for help. You’ve not done this before and it is allowed to feel frantic and lost. Therefore, reach out! Reach out! Reach out! I can’t stress this enough. Connect with anyone in your immediate circle and share your questions and concerns. Most people are excited to support and sometimes connect you with their networks.  

Any advice in terms of seeking scholarships or funding for first-generation learners?

Do the work as early as you can to search and apply for as many scholarships and funding possible. Most of these deadlines happen well before your first semester so visit with your counselor as much as possible and don’t limit your network to the resources in your high school. For example, consider Google searches for scholarships that target your demographic (i.e., strengths, social location, merit-based, financial-need, etc.). Speak with community members and those who have gone through this process, they will also have resources to share. Outside of scholarships, look into on-campus jobs that may best fit with your academic schedule. On-campus summer jobs and a position as resident assistant financed a significant portion of my room and board fees. Lastly, mentally prepare for accumulating student debt—it’s an unfortunate reality but don’t assume you can’t be proactive about payback plans. Student loans and finances are not easy to navigate. Don’t email your questions, establish rapport and visit Student Financial Aid officers as often as you need. Early attention to budgeting plans and understanding loans helps reduce stress around the issues. Plan ahead and hustle wisely!    

In recent years, many popular and academic sources have documented a kind of “first-generation student guilt,” mainly in relation to leaving their families members behind or breaking familial expectations for intergenerational continuity for family businesses and more. What would you say to first-gen students who are struggling with these types of emotions, or kind of negative feelings about their college endeavors? 

One way to understand “first-gen student guilt” is through the lens of grief. Being the first in your family to access a higher degree of education inevitably causes a socio-cultural degree of separation from those you love. There is unspoken grief that goes with this familial loss. One reason this happens is that the academy exposes us to topics and issues requiring us to critically think, analyze, and respond in ways we never had. In my experience, my family and I rarely look at any issue from the same angle anymore. Though we hold very similar values, we work with different assumptions because our sources of interpretation have changed. For me, this happened unknowingly and slowly overtime. With every academic course, I came across literature and conversations that deeply impacted my worldview and understanding of self. Due to physical distance, a shift in language, and the nearly impossible challenge to communicate every detailed change, I grew apart from my family.

This is perhaps the most important reality to prepare for; it is going to happen and there is no going back. But it is not a bad thing. If I could do it all over again, I would do two things differently. Step 1, I would not have been afraid to share with family when my perspective about particular issues had broadened. Even if conversations were uncomfortable, I would’ve overcome my fear by remembering that their response/reaction was not mine to hold. My responsibility was to share for the sake of communication in the relationship. Step 2, do not attempt Step 1 unless there’s regularly scheduled visits with a mental health counselor and/or trusted mentor on-campus. It is important to have a third-party that is experienced and professionally trained to help navigate the changes within yourself and with your family. A lot of changes are happening drastically and all at once. It is important for someone outside of family to hold space for us to vent and process without worrying about hurting our loved one’s feelings. The only way to get through the guilt/grief is to begin with a space to name it. Counseling sessions are geared towards this.   

Resources and Tools for First-Generation College Students

Center for First-Generation Student SuccessThis organization strives to support students of this demographic through various programs and services, research and policies, and engagement initiatives.

College Advising CorpsThis organization focuses on helping first-generation college students, low-income students, and underrepresented high school learners with the college financial aid, enrollment, and admissions processes.

College Board BlogThis blog features a variety of current and short articles on college life, academic preparedness, acclimating to college life, standardized test scores, and more.

Collegiate Parent TimelineHere is the Collegiate Parent’s take on the most beneficial planning timeline for prospective college students in high school.

FirstInTheFamily.orgProspective first-generation college students can take advantage of a variety of useful resources on the site, including planning checklist, general tips, resources, and inspirational stories.

I’mFirst.orgThis organization highlights the personal stories of first-generation college students and provides a variety of supporting online resources.

Nine Tips for First-Generation College Students in Their First SemesterProvided by the College of St. Scholastica, this list offers some quick, actionable advice.

Psychology TodayThis is another short reference guide with 22 tips for first-year college students.