How Might A First Generation College Student’s Experience Be Different?
First-generation students tend to come from working class families from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. First-generation students may start at a community college, attend college part-time, live off-campus or with family or relatives, delay entering college after high-school graduation or work full-time while enrolled in classes. While immersed in the exciting and labor-intensive experience of college, some first-generation students receive less support from their families while in school. Their families may not understand the demands of college work. Students may also feel added responsibility from families to be ‘the one who succeeds’ in college. This may increase the pressure the individual already experiences as a new student.
Despite having good academic performance in high school, first-generation students are susceptible to doubts about their academic and motivational abilities. Such individuals may believe that they are not college material. Because of these numerous obstacles, and because they may have to manage the demands of family and different cultures of home and college, first generation students may find it difficult to feel integrated socially and academically. Fortunately, there are things these students can do to gain confidence and feel more comfortable.
If you are a first-generation college student, you should first know that you are not alone. Many of the feelings you experience are normal and to be expected. First-generation students often experience a range of feelings about being the first in their family to attend and complete college. What are some common feelings?