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What is A First-Generation College Student

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If you  don’t know who is afirst-generation college student, here is an opportunity for you to do so. Find out the definition, the importance of the students in colleges, the challenges they face, and how to overcome them. 

In every college, there are different categories of students hence the rich culture. Accommodating different cultures is beneficial because each student gets an opportunity to pursue higher education.

 One of the groups of learners is first-generation students (FGS). The definition and privileges given to such learners are unique is every university. However, they all have some things in common. If you want to know what a first-generation college student, read on.

Definition Of A First-Generation Student

First-generation learners on campus are those whose legal guardians or parents have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. Some of the guardians might not have gotten an opportunity to attend college while some might have dropped out.

Whatever the reason might be, they do not have a degree. If you are the first member of your family to complete your four-year program and become a degree holder, then you qualify to be in this group of students.

Importance Of First-Generation Learners

First-generation learners are held under high regard by universities. They are special because colleges aim at creating more culturally, economically, and socially diverse student bodies. Additionally, they represent learners that are self-driven, focused, and thirst for education despite their backgrounds.

 They provide a unique voice and opinions that benefit the learning institutions. Above all, they become role models to other students and their families too.

Challenges Faced By First-Generation Students And Their Solutions

Being a first-generation learner is a proud accomplishment. However, it comes with some challenges that other students might not face. Most students come from minority households and completing their studies is not so easy after all. 

There are various challenges the learners face. Being from needy backgrounds, most struggle with fees payment. The good news is that there are scholarship opportunities available.

Getting funding as a first-generation student also requires that you prepare well. There are exams that you need to do, depending on the requirements of the university. Most students are required to do SATs and others.

Additionally, they only consider students with a GPA of 3.0 and above. Hence, you must study hard and ensure that you achieve this score. From there, you can be confident enough to apply for the grants.

Different organizations offer grants and scholarships for such students. For instance, Coca-cola provides $5000 to students with a GPA of three and above and who provide personal statements as proof. However, it is vital to know the scholarships your university supports. That way, you can direct your application to the right funding organization.

There are also federal grants that the learners can access. Examples are the state Pell Grant and TRIO programs. Therefore, you can get funding quickly if you apply the right way. The programs focus on data provided in The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Hence, ensure that the information you give, especially regarding household income is accurate.

It would be best if you were aggressive when applying for any form of funding. Start by finding out all the requirements needed during the application. You might get overwhelmed and view the application process as tricky when too many prerequisites must be met.

 Besides, nobody else from your family has ever applied for the scholarships. However, you can visit your university and get advice on how to fill the forms. Also, contact the organizations for more clarification.

Another challenge is that most learners only submit applications to one university. That limits their chances of getting admission.

It would be good to find out all the universities that offer your course of interest. Then, visit them and understand the terms and conditions. Finally, send several applications. The chances are that one of them will accept your request.

Once you receive the admission, you must prepare accordingly. Create a checklist to help you plan what you need to carry. Ensure that you bring the relevant school supplies and personal belongings.

 Also, take with you all your documents, including your ID. It is also good to know how you will make friends fast. You can practice by starting interesting discussions right at home. By the time you join campus, you will have known how to engage people in different conversations confidently.

Things will not be easy for you as a first-generation student when you join college. The challenges keep coming. Just like other first-year students, you might find coping with campus life difficult. The most challenging part is, you feel alone because nobody in your family relates to college life at all.

 However, it would be best if you found like-minded students to help you. You can find friends to talk to or seek guidance from the school’s guidance and counseling professionals.

You should also join the first-generation student’s body in your university. Here, you will meet people that you have a lot in common with and get a sense of belonging.

Besides, you will find role models that will keep you focused on earning your degree. Most importantly, find access to reading materials online as they are filled with information that can help you blend into college life effortlessly.

Money can also get scarce as the semester progresses. Therefore, FGS needs to spend the money they receive from scholarships and grants wisely. Additionally, school schedules allow for students to have some free time.

 They should find part-time jobs and work a few hours a day. There is also a long Summer holiday when students break from college. They should save some cash and keep it for the next semester. Most colleges have a work-study program specifically for such students as well. The money might not be much, but it should keep the flow of upkeep money stable.

The next time you are asked, what is a first-generation college student, you will have all the answers.

What qualifies as a first generation college student?

A first generation college student comes from a family where neither of their parents gained a four-year degree. Similarly students whose parents hold an associate degree or other certification are still classified as first generation students.

Are you a first generation college student if your sibling went to college?

A first generation student is a student who is going for to college for a 4 year degree as the first person in the family

Are you a first generation college student if your sibling went to college?

Yes, you will be considered  first generation student if your parents did not finish college.

Why is it important to be a first generation college student?

There are some first-generation students who take this as a source of strength because it acts as a motivation.

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