Prepare for College as a First-Generation Student

Going to college is often considered to be an accomplishment, but for first-generation students the excitement can come with mixed emotions.

“I was never proud of it,” says Alicia Brissett, a sophomore at George Mason University. “Being a black first-generation college student, female … that’s something that I didn’t want to wear on my chest.” ​ ​

Shame, guilt and inadequacy are just a few feelings that first-generation college students commonly struggle with.

First-gens are commonly described as students whose parents either have no college experience or didn’t earn a bachelor’s degree. ​They tend to have limited knowledge about applying to, paying for andresearching colleges​. They’re also less likely to enroll in four-year institutions and complete a bachelor’s degree in six years.​ Ill-prepared​, they often feel out-of-place on college campuses, experts say.

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