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.