Life As A First-Generation College Student

According to a study by the Higher Education Research Institute, one in six college students in 2005 were first generation college students. These students came from a household where neither parent (or even grandparents) have a college degree. First-generation students may be less likely to know about the college application process and college traditions, so extra student support from college representatives may be helpful. If you are the first member of your family to pursue a higher education, here's what you can expect in a college program:

first-generation-college-studentWorking Hard
Everyone is expected to work hard in school, but you may feel a bit of extra pressure from your parents, especially if they encouraged you to attend college. You don't want to disappoint them, which could make you worry more than you have to about your academic performance. Keep in mind that if you were accepted into school, there shouldn't be a reason to doubt your capabilities. 

If you're covering your own college tuition, you may find that working through school is necessary, whether part-time or full-time. You may have to be creative about scheduling in order to fit everything in.

Mixed Emotions
It's completely normal to be excited and a little anxious about college, but you may feel slightly more so because of the pressure to succeed. Just remember that you deserve to be at school and your parents will love you no matter what happens. Keep a positive outlook and never be afraid to ask for help from peers, your instructors, and your college's support staff.

You may feel a bit guilty about being the only one in your family who is getting an education - especially if you see your parents working so hard to make a living at home. Instead of letting these feelings slow you down, put your efforts into your work so you can make the best of your own situation. Keep in mind that when you are armed with a college degree, you are improving your chances of career success and stability!

Get Support
It's important to surround yourself with a strong support system, which can include your family, friends, instructors, and classmates. If you share what you're going through, you may find that they can help you adjust. Consider joining groups and clubs on campus so you can stay involved and have plenty of resources.

Remember that time management is essential, especially if you're planning to juggle school, family, and work all at once. If you ever find yourself struggling, don't be afraid to reach out for help. Financial aid assistance, career services, tutoring, and academic advisors are all there for you to utilize, so take advantage of them.

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