What It Means To Be A First-Generation College Student, by Susanna de Chenonceau, M.Ed.

first-gen college studentA First-Generation college student is someone who was not RAISED in a home by at least one “parent” figure who attended AND GRADUATED from a FOUR year, accredited, (residential) college or university in ANY country. You (and your sibs) are then called first-gens because you will be the first generation of your household family to graduate from 4 year college. If you will be a first-gen college student (like me!), ask colleges if they have any programs, sessions or groups for you. If they do, sign up to learn about what college is like. This kind of support, from people in your same boat, is super helpful for your success in college! Yay, first-gen-ners! Break that poverty cycle, people!

A first-gen student is a nickname for a first generation college student–someone who grew up in a home where both parents did not attend a four year college, where one parent has an AA only, or where one or both parents attempted some college but did not finish it. If your parents went to community college ONLY, or a technical school, or to a NON four year school in another country, you are still a first-gen. If your parent *did* go to college but they passed away and you lived without them for more than half of your life, then you are a first-gen. If you were raised by someone who did graduate from a 4 year college, then you are not a first-gen.

If your parents/guardians graduated from *any* four year Bachelors degree-granting college or university, anywhere in the world, then you are *not* a first-gen.

A first-gen is a student who is going to a four year college or university as the first generation in their household/family to do so.

You can be a first-gen if you are the first person from your family to attend college, or if your sibling went and you are going, too.  The important part is that the parents who raised you did *not* attend, or that they did not finish, and you are doing so.  Getting the first four year bachelors degree in your household/family makes you a first-gen, even if your sibling is getting one, too. Your generation is changing your family history. That makes you a first-gen.

Please read all of the comments below this blog before you write to ask me if you are a first-gen.  🤓

Being a first-gen can be scary, intimidating and confusing because you are like a pioneer, going somewhere with no guide and finding your own way.

This used to be a lot more confusing and lonely, but in recent years there has been much awareness around first-gen students and now campuses are creating programs to support and guide us, and other first-gens are doing all they can to help those who come after them.

Being a first-gen is also really exciting.  You may be the first from your family to go to college, and you may have to figure out the whole college system on your own, but it is SO worth it!  College is fascinating.  You can learn about any subject that interests you.  You can do research, and meet others who share your interests, and work alongside faculty members who have been studying a subject for 10, 20 or 30 years.

You can come to understand and appreciate the history of your favorite subject and learn about all of the brilliant scholars who have forged the path for you.  At the same time, you can learn about all of the most recent developments in your discipline and you can think creatively about ways to push those developments even further.

From a practical standpoint, college prepares you for the workplace and a college degree enables you to get more interesting, higher paying jobs than you can get without a degree.  Over the course of a lifetime, a person with a college degree will earn one million dollars more on average than a person without a college degree!

One of the greatest benefits of a college degree is that you get to choose a career that you are passionate about, develop your skills in an area you find very interesting, and then go to work each day doing something you chose and love.  That’s priceless.

For all of the confusing bits about adjusting to and navigating through college, ask any first-gen graduate and they will tell you that is SO worth it!  College opens your mind, inspires, you sharpens you, and challenges you.  Most importantly, it allows you to achieve your dreams.

Please read all of the comments below before you write to ask me if you are a first-gen.  Please.  After you read this and those, you shouldn’t need to ask me or anyone else. If you must write to me, please greet me, say thank you, and sign your name. Courtesy counts!  🤓

Yay, college!



223 Responses

    1. Hi Cristina!

      The standard definition of being a first gen is that your parents didn’t go to college anywhere, so if your mom did grad school (which is awesome!) that means she had to go to college.

      Unless you mean she did a special kind of school? What kind of school was her grad school?


    2. Hi, I am a 15yr ago high school graduate with an Associates Degree. My mom and dad never went to college but I have a younger siblings who finished her 4 yr degree some years ago. I’m also a wife of 8yrs, my husband has his 4yr degree. Will I be considered a First Time Generation since my parents didn’t attend college?

  1. I have a mom who went to a 2 year college (no degree, just diploma) overseas, and my father dropped out of college. Does that make me a first-generation applicant since I will be the first child to attend a US 4-year college.

    1. Hello C.A.!

      Yes, if you are the first person who will attend and graduate from a 4 year college or university, then you are a First Gen. Be sure that your applications show this clearly, because colleges want to help First Gens get to and through college. I’m a First Gen, too, so remember, you can do this and it is worth it. Ask questions when you get to campus and never be shy about what you don’t know. The other freshmen have never been to college before either, so you are not alone, and there are always kind people on campus who want to help you understand and succeed.

      Yay, college!

  2. My two older siblings graduated college, my mom had one year at business school but no degree. Dad is only hs grad. Am I first gen?

    1. Dear Taylor,

      Since your parents did not attend four year university, then yes, you and your siblings are considered First Generation students. Be sure to list your parents’ education levels on your applications, wherever it is requested, and be precise.

      If your mom has one year of business school but no undergraduate Bachelors degree, then it sounds to me like she attended a technical or two year college for just one year, so yes, you would still be a First Gen.

      I am a First Gen, too, and I’m so excited for the exciting educational adventure that you are about to go on! Learn all you can and then do all you can to help make our world a better place.


  3. I got a question.If my mom went to a college in a different state(Oregon) and I didn’t know it until 1015 She died after6 months of me being there.She died on October 1st 2015.My brothers never went to college.She had went for her GED when she had died.She was planning to start her own business.I am going no for Creative Writing in English with a Concentration in EEnglishShe never went to college for her college credit,but for her GED first.

    1. Hello Walter,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your mother. That is such a difficult thing, and it sounds like she was a real inspiration to you.

      I think you are asking if you qualify as a First Gen? Yes, it sounds as if you do. Be sure to tell your colleges honestly about your parents’ levels of educations. I’m assuming your father did not go to college since you do not mention it.

      Also, I was an English major and simply loved it. Do consider double majoring since you are interested in Creative Writing and that can be a tough place to find work. A double major will cost no more money if you are clever and efficient in scheduling your classes, and it will enable you to graduate with two diplomas in the place of one. In this way you can have a steady, stable day job while you find work in creative writing.

      Let me know how things go!
      Stay strong, prioritize your school, and make your Mom proud. Our loved ones are always watching over and protecting us.

      All the best,

  4. My mother graduated with a bachelors degree overseas. However, her degree isn’t worth much over here in the US. She only has 3/4’s of the required credits that a US-equivalent of the degree would require.
    So would I still be considered a first-gen?

    1. Hi Ankit! Technically you are not a First Gen because she graduated from a college, but in the additional info section you can explain that she cannot work in her profession here in the US, as her international degree is not recognized, if that is in fact the case. If she is working in her area of studies here in the US, then don’t write that paragraph and you wouldn’t be a First Gen. I hope that makes sense! Colleges DO understand that kids whose parents went to school overseas are still new to the US system, so they will certainly take that into consideration. Also, the Common App allows you to put in any university that your parents attended, anywhere in the world, so be sure to do that. Cheers, Susanna

    1. Hi Rosanna!

      This question has been asked and answered a few times in the comments, but yes, you are a First Gen because your mom did not graduate.


  5. My mother attended a technical school but left early and my father attempted college, i believe, twice but never completed more than two years and has no degree. Would i be considered a first-generation college student? I understand that my parents attempted higher education but they have degrees earned.

    1. Hi Nick, this question has been answered before so I am going to edit the blog. Yes, you are a First Gen because they have no degrees. Best, Susanna

  6. Hi. My mom died and my dad left me before I was born; my mom didn’t finish community college during her life and my dad got kicked out of college for using drugs. However, my grandparents have degrees. Am I still a considered a first generation student since they’re technically not my immediate family?

    1. Hi Kiersten, I am so sorry to hear about your parents, and thank God for wonderful grandparents. Your situation is definitely unique. I think you do qualify as a First Gen and that you should tell your story in your college applications. There is a box at the end of each application for Additional Info and you can put your family story there, since it has likely given you strength and taught you much. You may also choose to use your family story as your main essay, which you could do. Colleges care about you kids, and they do want to know the truth of what you have been through. I hope this helps, and I am excited for your college adventures! All the best, Susanna

  7. Sorry for asking this question if it has already been asked. I couldn’t find the question above. I have been confused for a long time, and I never considered myself as first gen, because my dad went to a community college and obtained a certificate, but now I’m questioning if I’m first gen since I’m the first one who went to a 4 years college and graduate?

    1. Hi Susan! Yes, since your dad did not do a 4 year degree you are a First Gen. I’ll update the blog to say this. Cheers, Susanna

  8. Hello,
    I am a parent. I attended a 2 year, fully accredited fashion design college over 20yrs. ago, but I didn’t graduate. I want to return to school to take the two classes I need to earn my AA degree, and eventually work towards a Bachelors in the years to come. My daughter is starting the college application process now as a First Gen applicant. If I earn my AA degree, then my Bachelor’s while she’s started college, will that affect her negatively? Do I need to wait unt she graduates from undergrad?

    1. Hi Rosi!

      No worries here. Go ahead and go back to school. You two might finish your degrees at the same time, or she might finish before you do, but she will still be a First Gen because she is the first kiddo in her family to go to a four year college and live on campus, etc etc. 🙂

      I’m so excited that you are going back!!
      Yay, college!

  9. My husband and I are both college graduates. We adopted our granddaughter, who will graduate high school in 2019. Neither of her physical parents graduated from college. Is our granddaughter considered a first generation?

    1. Hi Blanche! So sorry for the delay. October is my busiest month of the year. 🙂 I would say that technically your granddaughter is not first gen, but she should certainly tell her story to each college because colleges really want to hear the truth of the background situation of each student. All the best, Susanna

  10. Hi, I am a parent. I graduated from a university in another country with a Law degree.
    I called one of the colleges my daughter is intending to apply and they said that she is first generation, because I have not graduated in an accredited school in the United States. Can you help clarify ??
    Thank you


    1. Hi Paula, In truth you could call each school and ask as it is totally up to each to decide. I would say your daughter is first gen *technically* because your college was in another country, but in truth, she’s really probably not. 🙂 I mean that in the nicest way! She’s lucky to have a strong, educated mom! Best, Susanna

  11. Hi, if my mother has an associate degree, but my dad has not went to college, would I be considered first gen because they both have both completed four years.

    1. Hello, according to your post, neither of them has completed four years, so I’m not sure of what you mean. Cheers, Susanna

  12. So my mom has custody of me, and all my college apps site my mom and stepmom as my parents. Neither of them have a college degree. However, my dad went to a community college a couple years ago and got his bachelor’s. I don’t live with him, I see him less than once a year, and he isn’t listed on my college applications. Do I count as first-gen?

    1. Hi Amber! Yes, you are First Gen because the home where you live is not headed by a four-year college grad. 🙂 Cheers, Susanna

  13. One of my parents attended a four-year college but we don’t live with her and my dad didn’t go to college. Would I qualify as a first-gen college student?

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I think it depends a little on how much you see her. First Gen means that your life experience has been under the guidance of someone who was not able to go to college. Cheers, Susanna

  14. Both of my Parents went to college in another country but the both never completed college. Does that make me a First Gen?

    1. Hi Abhinav, Could you do me a favor and let me know where in the article this issue is unclear? Many thanks, Susanna

    1. Hi Serenity, but who is offering this scholarship, and where? You always need to give a person all of the details when you ask a question. 🙂

  15. Hello Susanna,
    I’m the parent of a high school senior and while I did not attend college, her deceased (when she was 9) father was a college graduate. Would my daughter qualify as first generation since she grew up with only me? Is this a situation that needs additional explanations when applying to colleges or for scholarships? Thanks for sharing your knowledge

    1. Hi Shelly! I think we need to look at the spirit of the law here and not the letter, per se. The concept of being First Gen means that you did not grow up in a home lead by college educated adult(s). So, since her dad passed away when she was 9, then he has not been in the home for half of her life, nor for all of her young adult life, so it would seem to me that she qualifies in the spirit of being First Gen. Cheers, Susanna

  16. How does being a qualifying first generation student help financially? Does it only help in admission process only? Thank you

  17. I have a question on this, I got my Bachelor’s degree a couple of years ago, as an adult, when my son was a freshman in high school. Would he qualify for a first-generation college student? At a college fair that we went to someone told me that he might.

    1. Hi Debbi! I think that if we look at the spirit of the law and not the letter, then yes, he would qualify, as he was raised primarily in a home where his parents did not attend a 4 year college. Congrats to you, also! Cheers, Susanna

  18. My mother did not complete high school, but my father graduated with a 4 year degree. However, I lost my father when I was 10. My older sibling also only completed some community college. I have done everything myself in terms of education, especially since I am homeschooled. Am I first generation since I primarily grew up in a houshold with a parent with no degree?

    1. Hi Cynthia! I think so, yes. The definition means that you did not grow up in a home with a college educated parent, and since you lost your father, which I am sorry to hear about, then you qualify–especially as you did not have his influence during the age when we begin to seriously plan for and apply to college. So, yes, you, like many of us, are First Gen. All the best, Susanna

  19. So my father graduated from a two year college and received his associates and my mom is in school now (for three years now) to obtain here bachelor’s. However, I was the first in my immediate family to obtain my bachelors in chem. I feel like this makes me a first generation student. Am i correct? Also, when the time comes for my mom to receive her bachelors degree, will i still be a first generation student?

  20. My two siblings both went to college and got their bachelors and masters. Would I still be considered a first gen even though they’ve completed college and I’m still in high school?

  21. My granddaughter will graduate in the spring of 2019. Her mother attended a four college but did not graduate and her father got his AA. Both of them as well as the parents were born in the US. Does my granddaughter qualify as a first generation?

    1. Hello Frances,

      Yes, as the article states, your granddaughter did not grow up in a home where the primary caregiver had a four year degree. Thus, she is a first gen.


  22. Neither of my parents have any sort of degree and both only went to college for about a year. However two of my grandparents have 4 or 6 year degrees, do I count as first gen?

    1. Hi Georgia, this depends upon who raised you, so if you grew up with your parents, then yes. If your grandparents raised you in their house, then no. Can you tell me why you, and so many people, are asking this question? This has become a very popular blog post and while I’m happy to help, I’m a tad confused about the interest. 🙂


  23. While in grade school and in high school my parents did not attend college. While I was attending my community college my parents went back to school through an accelerated program where they both obtained their bachelors degree. Would I still be considered a first generation college student since I was enrolled and attending college prior to their enrollment?

    1. Hi Kiahna, can you tell me more about their accelerated bachelors program? I’ve never heard of that. Thanks! Susanna

  24. Hello Susanna,

    My dad finished community college and then went to technical school for 2 years and graduated from there. Would this make me a first gen student? Thank you.

    1. Hi Vicki, as this article states, since your dad does not have a 4 year degree, then yes, you are a first-gen. Can you let me know which part of this article did not make that clear? I would be very grateful. Best, Susanna

  25. hi! my mom only has her hs diploma, and my dad only had that too, but when i was about 9 or 10 he went back and earned his bachelors degree in business through online school. would i still be considered first gen or no?

    1. Hi Kiannah! I think yes and no. Yes, because you will be the first gen to live on campus, but technically sort of no since your dad has a degree, but I lean more toward yes since being first gen is about being a pioneer in a new place–so go with yes! 🙂 Susanna

  26. If my sister went to a Technical College and graduated but it wasn’t a four year degree or a four year college. Will I be considered first generation

  27. If a parent graduated from only a regionally accredited four year university, is the child considered a first-generation college student?

    1. Hi Rebecca! Sorry for this delayed reply. I’ve been traveling. I think you’ll need to use your gut instinct on this one. The letter of the law would say no, because the parents have a four year degree. But, if you feel the college isn’t quite nationally recognized or well-regarded, and if the student will be the first person to go to a traditional US four year university and will be experiencing something the parents have no ability to relate to or counsel on, then the logic is yes. Hope this helps! Susanna

  28. Hello,

    I graduated in 2004 with my bachelors and had 2 masters by 2010. My mom graduated with her bachelors in 2010. Someone told me that I was not first-gen college grad now that my mom has her bachelors. I definitely was considered first-gen when I was in school and have the lived-experience from childhood and early adulthood of being first-gen, but is my friend correct saying that I can’t call myself first-gen now? Thank you!

    1. Hi Samantha! Your friend is wrong and you are right. 🙂 . You had that experience “first”, before your mom, soooo. There you have it. All the best, Susanna

  29. Hi Susanna! I know you have a lot of people asking you questions, but I read though the blog and comments and didn’t see my concern. My mom went to a 4 year collage and got her degrees. However my dad didn’t. Both parents are in my life. What does this make me? Thank you!

    1. Dear Olivia, As you were raised by a mom who had a degree, then you are, or will be, a college graduate. Your mom might be a first-gen if her parents did not attend college. Are you asking because of scholarships? All the best, Susanna

      1. Hi! My dad attended some college and did not graduate. My mom got her associates from a community college and then later got her bachelors from umich Dearborn. She did not live on campus and only went to the university for a year to finish her degree. Does any of this make me first generation?

        1. Hi Deanna! I thin you are a First Gen because neither parent did four years and lived on campus. Sorry for the delay on this! All the best, Susanna

  30. Hello! So my mom did some business school and took some college courses while my dad only has a high school diploma. My brother also went to college way before me (15 year age difference) but he dropped out. Do I classify as first-gen? And it shouldn’t matter if my grandma went to college right?

    1. Hi Nicholas,

      This depends upon who raised you. If you were very close to your Gran and she set the example for you that college was possible and wise and normal, then you are not a first-gen. If you never met her and grew up primarily or exclusively in a home where college was not expected as normal, then you would be a first-gen. All the best, Susanna

  31. Hello Susanna,

    My mother went to school on and off throughout her life. When I was in kindergarten, she attended community college and received her AA. Later in life when I was in high school, she went through the University of Phoenix (primarily online) for her BSN. Now that I am in college, she went back to the University of Phoenix for her Master’s, and just finished this year.

    Would I be first generation despite her receiving higher education in a non-traditional route? I self-identify as first generation since she is not able to give me guidance or advice on college or my career plans.

    1. Dear Michelle,
      Yes, I do think you are a first gen because your mom’s college was nontraditional.
      All the best,

  32. So if I have my 4 year degree, but my husband, who is an immigrant, did not attend any college, do my children count as first gen?

      1. That’s my situation… My father graduated from a four-year university with a Bachelor’s degree. My mom graduated from high school and took some classes at a community college, but never graduated from any college with a degree. I have one brother who graduated from high school but never went to college. However, I have an AA degree from a community college and a BA degree from a four year university, and I have another brother who has a BA from a four year university and an MA from a four year university. My brother and I would be considered second-generation college graduates because our parents were still married when we graduated and both of our parents had raised us (our mom died three and a half years ago.) I wouldn’t qualify as first-generation unless it had been just my mom who raised us.

  33. I grew up in the foster care system in Georgia. My biological family did not attend college. I just recently went through an adult adoption. My family (adopted family) has completed university. Do I qualify as first generation student?

    1. Hi Wade, I think you do qualify because you were raised by foster parents. 🙂
      Also, on each college application, they always ask if you were in foster care, so be sure to say yes because the colleges are very keen to help foster kids, orphans, and adopted kids. And I am very happy to answer all college questions you have. Keep pursuing your education! You will be so very glad that you did it! All the best, Susanna

  34. I should have looked this up before I went and graduated college because whenever I hear first person in the family to go college; I always thought of families for many and multiple generations were not able to go to college including cousins. I always thought I did not classify as a first generation college graduate due to my cousins (both sides of the family) or some family member in the family tree on my dad’s side probably graduated college before me despite my parents did not graduate college.

    In your opinion, why is this such a confusing topic?

    Also if my brother were to decide to go to college, would he be considered a first generation college student despite that I already graduated?

    1. Hi Sam! You and your brother would be first gen because your parents did not go. Your cousins don’t affect you in this matter. I’m not sure why it confuses people so much, to be honest! 🙂
      Keep going after your education! It’s the best decision ever.
      Yay, college!

  35. Hello there!
    I read your blog and I’m still confused about where I stand. Does being a first-gen college student refer to being the first in your family to go to a four-year college in the USA? My parents completed their degrees in Europe and when they came here, my dad got an Associates Degree and my mom got a GED. Would I still be considered as a first-gen?

    1. Hi Angie! If your parents got degrees in another country, then you are not technically a first gen. 🙂
      Hope this helps, Susanna

  36. Hello. My parents who raised me did not go to college. I was a single mom and raised my daughter who got her four year degree. NowI’m going back to school and I still don’t have parents that raised me that went to college-am I still considered a first generation?

    1. Hello Kris! Yes, you are a first gen yourself because you were not raised by parents who went to a 4 year college in the US. Getting your education is the best decision ever, so congrats and keep going! Cheers, Susanna

  37. Hi Susanna, I only recently went back to school with my family’s encouraging and graduated with Bachelor’s degree a year before my daughter college applications. Would that have negatively impacted her? Can she still be considered a first gen?

    1. Hi BR!

      I think your daughter is still a first gen because she grew up in a house where her parents did not have 4 year college degrees.

      Hope this helps!

  38. Hello,

    My mom received her B.A. when I was about 12 and my dad has a GED. Am I still considered a first-gen?
    Would it also make a difference if the institution where she received her degree from is not accredited in all states of the U.S.?


    1. Hi Raquel!

      You are really on the fine line with this question. 🙂
      I think that since your mom’s school is not fully accredited that you can count as a first gen.


  39. Hi Susanna!

    My mom technically obtained her bachelors degree (through a church-based institution) but now she is having to go back to school because the accreditation association that is over the school that she works at will not accept her degree. (Because the church-based institute was not accredited.) However, the college that she is attending right now is also not accredited, but the degrees are recognized by the accreditation association that the school that she works at uses.

    I am currently getting my AA, but I plan on transferring to another college to obtain my BA. Would I technically be a first generation student?

    I apologize if any of this confuses you or was already asked.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Carissa!

      I think this one is confusing, but if your mom did not attend an accredited school, then you sound like a first gen to me. 🙂

      Yay, college!

  40. Hello! My mom and dad both immigrated to the US with only their high school diplomas. My mom recently went back to school for her bachelors and will be receiving it this year from an online university, my sophomore year of high school. I have two older sisters, both of which started college before she obtained her degree. My father only has his high school diploma. Do I count as first-gen?

    1. Hi Stephen! I think you are a first gen because your parents did not go to a 4 year college in the US. Keep pursuing your education! It is the best decision possible Cheers, Susanna

  41. my step-sister is currently at UT in her 3rd year for engineering. My dad did online college. my stepmom went to a university and dropped out. my birth mother has a high school diploma. My grandparents both graduated a 4 year university. Am i a first-gen, despite my step-sister and grandparents?

    1. Hi Peyton! I think this would depend upon when your dad did online college and if he finished his BA. If you were young and grew up with a college educated dad, then no you wouldn’t be a first gen. If you grew up with both parents who did not have college degrees, then yes, you would be a first gen. Hope this helps! Susanna

  42. Neither of my parents went to college, only high school diplomas. The same goes for both sets of grandparents. However a few of my dad’s siblings received a bachelors degree, and I am the youngest of four with my oldest sibling having a bachelors degree. Am I a first generation college student?

    1. Hi Shelby! Yes, you are a first gen because you were raised by parents who do not have a 4 year US degree. Cheers, Susanna

  43. Hi,
    I apologize if my question has béen,asked and answered. After reading some of the questions and responses, I confused myself. My husband attended a 4 yr college for one semester, and did not return therefore he did not obtain a degree. I attended a technical college (no degree or certificate obtained) and then, transferred my credits to, Strayer University, however I did not graduate and do not have a degree. Would my daughter who is graduating in May 2019 be considered a first gen student, even though both her parents attended college but did not graduate or obtain a degree? She has been accepted to a 4 yr college that she will be attending this fall of 2019. Thanks.

  44. I’m sorry if I am asking a question you have answered but could not find it anywhere, and I was having a hard time deciphering for myself. I am an adult with an adult child who has went to college and earned her Bachelors degree. She was a first gen, but now that I am in school, would I no longer be a first gen because of her? (neither of my parents attended any college) I am filling out an application for a scholarship that asks.

    1. Hello! I think you are definitely a first gen yourself because you were not raised by parents who went to a 4 year college in the US. Keep going on your education! It is the best decision ever. Cheers, Susanna

  45. If both of my parents obtained their degrees in a different country than the United States, meaning they never went to school in the US ever, am I considered a first generation student in America?

    1. Hi Austin!

      I think you are not technically a first gen yourself because you were raised by parents who went to a 4 year college. Keep going on your education! It is the best decision ever. Cheers, Susanna

  46. Hello, i would like to ask if my dad was in technical college for 2 and a half years and then went to university for 2 years but only was able to finish 1 year and my mom did 2 years of technical college would i still be able to be a first generation if my parents only got their associates degree.

    1. HiGiovanna, Yes, you are a first gen because your parents did not earn four year degrees. Best, Susanna

  47. Hi! My situation is a bit unique and I did not see anyone else ask it. Growing up neither of my parents attended college but after I was already an adult and living on my own, my mom went back to school and got a bachelors degree. I am now about to start at UCLA as a non traditional transfer student (and in my mid 30s) but would I still qualify as first generation?

    1. Hi Lindsay,

      I think that yes, you would still be a first gen because you did not grow up in a house where a four year degree was the norm and standard, and your parents did not have one at that time.

      All the very best to you as you start at UCLA! That is wonderful. They have *many* support services on campus for free tutoring and academic help, so always reach out to your academic advisor to get connected because there is never a reason to feel alone. Smart students do not know everything–they figure out where to FIND everything. 🙂

      Congratulations on this exciting new chapter! May it be blessed.

  48. my students’ parents went to college in another country and immigrated here to the united states, but their degrees were not evaluated and was considered either an associates equivalent or even high school degree equivalent. are they considered first generation since they are the first in their family to attend college in the united states ?

    1. Hi Jospeh,

      Thanks for writing in. This is a complex one, because the student grew up in a home where college was the standard. However, as the parents’ degrees are not recognized in the US we cannot know the rigor or quality or length of those college programs, so now, for all intents and purposes, since the parents’ degrees are not being recognized in the US, it would seem to me that this student is starting all over to break the poverty cycle in their family by pursuing college. Thus, yes, your student is now technically a first gen. I hope this helps.

      All the best,

  49. Hello Susanna,

    I read your previous comment about a “non-traditional” route. So what would count as a non-traditional route if I may ask? I’m curious to learn about this as this has been something that has left me wondering for a while.

  50. my mom has some trade school but my dad has a bachelor’s but he left me when I was younger. He has recently come back into my life but didnt raise me. Am I a first gen?

    1. Hi Samara! Yes, based upon these factors I would say that you are a first gen. 🙂
      Keep going because college is SO worth it!! Best, Susanna

  51. Hello Susanna,

    Well you mentioned a non-traditional route. Basically I want to know what do you exactly mean by a non-traditional route? Because the truth is I’m kind of in a similar situation as the previous user was. Sorry if this is complicated to understand.

    1. Hi Christopher, I’m happy to help if you explain your situation. I get hundreds of posts and am sorry but there would be no way for me to know who any previous user/poster was. Best, Susanna

      1. Hello Susanna.

        Thank you for your time. To be honest, mine is kind of a special case. This has led to feeling like I was having somewhat of an imposter syndrome from time to time. It is similar to the University of Phoenix (from Michelle’s post), but it’s a school called DeVry University. From my understanding, neither of my parents finished college. My mother decided to go back to school by attending DeVry (also primarily online-there is a sad reason of why she didn’t finish in the first place, which I don’t feel comfortable sharing online. The reason behind is what motivates me to finish college so I can give back to my family one day.) She’ll be done this August 2019. I was wondering if schools like UoP or DeVry were considered non-traditional schools. From my understanding, there sometimes seems to be negative stigma towards for-profit schools, despite the accreditation, and how it ruins students’ futures. Also despite the higher education, I was technically never given college advice since I’m the first person in my immediate family to not only attend and finish soon at a non-profit university (it’s a UC), but also to study a STEM-related major, something which there really wasn’t a lot of awareness in my family. I self-identify as a first generation because of not always being given advice on what classes to take, how living on-campus is like, coming from a divorced family with a history of low-income or even a career path. Another note to add why I still self-identify as a first-gen is because technically, I was supposed to finish in Spring of May 2019 but due to depression, lack of financial support, and other obstacles, I took a semester off for spring 2018. I’ll be finishing in Spring 2020.

        Christopher Guzman

        1. Dear Christopher, Thank you for this clarification. Since you were raised by parents who, at the time, had not attended any university, then yes, you are a first gen. For Profit schools can be dangerous for many reasons, so I am very glad that your mother is finishing her degree and I hope she finds a job speedily. One of my friends went to DeVry and did find a good job, so it is totally possible. Hats off to you, also, for not giving up on your education no matter how tough things may ever get. I firmly believe it is the best decision I ever made, and I am sure it will be for you as well. All the best, Susanna

  52. Hello!

    If my parents have been divorced since I was 3, and one of them got a 4 year degree and the other didn’t, but i split my time equally between the two households, do I qualify as a first gen? Nobody on my dad’s side has degrees, but my mom does.

    1. Dear Sarah,

      Hello! Technically you are not a first gen because you grew up in a home (even part time) where a parent had a 4 year degree. You are really lucky to have your mom as an educational role model, so now you can go to college and chase your dreams and carry your family’s dreams even farther. One day your kids will go farther still. Education is always rewarding! Yay, college! Susanna

  53. Hello Christopher,

    I am an adoptee, which was orphaned at an early age in another country. My parents (adopted parents) brought me to this country and later became a citizen after my 18th birthday. My adopted mother has a college degree, but due to reasons unknown to me, she was not allowed(or not needed) to be a sponsor for citizenship. So in short, my adoption was not finalized until after citizenship. Both, of my children and myself wonder how to address the question, when it comes up on academic applications. Would I qualify or my children qualify as a first- gen attendee. Thank you for any insight that you may have.

    1. Hello, A person is a first-gen when they were raised in a house where no parent had a four year college degree. Hope this helps, Best, Susanna

  54. Questioning for my daughter. Her father died when she was age four. Did not go to college. I have three years at college but haven’t graduated. Recently, I got married to a man who recently graduated with his BS. My daughter is a rising junior. Both birth parents did not graduated but her stepfather graduated.

    1. Hello, A person is a first-gen when they were raised in a house where no parent had a four year college degree. Hope this helps, Best, Susanna

  55. Hi! I have been unable to find the answer to my question and I am hoping you can help. My daughter was adopted at age 4 from an orphanage in rural China. Information on her birth parents is unknown, however, it is extremely unlikely that they were college educated. My husband and I are college graduates. How does my daughter answer the first generation question? Does she base it on birth parents or adoptive parents? All the answers I have found through research are relevant only to children that were in foster care.

    1. Hello, A person is a first-gen when they were raised in a house where no parent had a four year college degree. Your daughter is definitely not a first-gen. 🙂

      Hope this helps.
      Best, Susanna

  56. Hi!
    My stepmom, who I live with, just got her BA two years ago, but no other parent I have has had a degree form a four year college. Would this mean I am not a first gen student even though I only started living with her this year and she only got her degree two years ago?
    Sorry if you answered this in a previous comment but I couldn’t seem to find one like mine.

    1. Hello, A person is a first-gen when they were raised in a house where no parent had a four year college degree. Since you haven’t lived with her for long, you may be a first-gen.

      Hope this helps.
      Best, Susanna

  57. My mother went to college but did not finish. My father went to college, and he did finish, but he did not raise me. He also passed away when I was 16. Do I count as a first gen college student?

    1. Hi Rachel, First gen students were not raised by a person who graduated from a four year college, so yes, as this article states, you are one. Best, Susanna

  58. Neither of our 18-year old adopted daughter’s biological parents went to college. Her biological father left right after she was born never to be heard from again. She lived with her biological mother until she was 11. A man lived with her mother and her from about age 6 until he died when she was 11. She was voluntarily placed in foster care at that time. She call this man her step-father even though he never married her mother. He did not graduate from college. She came to live with us as a foster child at age 14. We adopted her at age 16. I graduated from a 4-year university. My wife graduated from a diploma nursing school and has been a registered nurse for many years. She did not graduate from a 4-year college. She does not have a B.S. Does our daughter qualify as a first generation college student? If yes, biological parents/stepfather, my wife, or all?

    Thank you

    1. Hello, Since you adopted your foster daughter at age 16, then I feel that she is a first gen because most of her life was spent with parental figures who did not have a 4 year degree. Best, Susanna

  59. Hi Susanna,

    First of all, thank you so much for this informative article! I am a first-gen and didn’t realize there were all of these resources available when I completed my Bachelor’s degree a few years ago. I am considering pursuing higher education and would like to know if being first-gen helps when applying to Master’s programs as well?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this – it’s very much appreciated!

    1. Hi Stephanie! I think first gen status is primarily of importance to undergrad institutions tracking that data. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to report it to your MA programs, in case they are tracking it, too. I don’t really think there are resources available to us on the MA level, but there are certainly opportunities to volunteer with the BA students as a mentor and role model.
      All the best, Susanna

  60. Hi Susanna, I read every comment but i’d still really appreciate input because i’m not sure on my situation. i’m a sophomore in community college. I was raised by a single mom who didn’t go to college (biological dad didnt either) and when i was a sophomore in high school my mom married a man from india who has a bachelors degree from india but i have gotten zero guidance from him, their relationship was rocky (frequently separated) and he and i barely spoke, he was a financial provider and thats it, and i havent even talked to him since graduating high school. every single thing about college (classes, scholarships, majors, the experience) is brand new to me. ive only gotten help from my mom when she tried to research about college. i dont even think his college in india had fafsa, scholarships, or anything similar, but i dont know because we dont have a relationship. am i disqualified from being first generation? I feel like i should be included because of all the fear and confusion ive faced going to college and the pressure of going to college when my mom couldnt. if you could please tell me what you think that’d be great

    1. Hi Maria, Being raised by someone who has a four year degree means that you have a relationship with them where they guide and influence and help you (beyond just financial support), so I think you do qualify as first gen because you never had that. All the best, Susanna

  61. Hello, if my mom finished university and got her degree in a different country and my dad didn’t finish college. Would that make me a first-gen? I feel like I’m not because she finished university but my mom never used her degree and got it from Syria not here in America. Also, we are basically immigrants here (now permanent residents) because we still don’t have our citizenship.

    1. Hi Sara, This is a tough one but I think you should call yourself a first-gen because your mom never used that Syrian degree and she cannot help you here in the US. I hope your college is going well and that young people like you are able to help the world heal from atrocities like what is occurring in Syria. All the best, Susanna

  62. Hello, if my mom finished university within the U.S. and has achieved her degree and my dad never went to college, however, I have lived with my grandparents my whole life would I be considered first gen? Growing up, I have never had exposure to the college system because of the disconnect with my parents.

    1. Hi Kyle, This is tough because colleges might look at your parents. I would say you ARE first gen because you were raised exclusively by people who were not educated, so be sure to explain this fact in your additional info section. 🙂 Susanna

  63. Hi there! My parents got divorced when I was 10 (I am 22 now) and it was on really bad terms. I have lived and been raised by my mom for the majority of my life as my father was not in the picture very often, and she does not have a degree. My father, however, does but I am not in contact with him at all and have not been for a very long time. I’m at a university right now and have a long future of school ahead of me. I always claimed to *not* be a first-gen student, but now I’m not so sure if I am not eligible. Can you clear this up for me?

    1. Hi Rebecca, You are first gen in my opinion because you were raised by a person who had not been to college and you had no exposure to someone who had. Hope this helps, Susanna

  64. Hey Susanna,
    My mother has an associates degree that she obtained from a private 4yr university. My father only completed high school. Does that make me first generation?

    Thanks for taking the time to reply,

  65. Hi, if both my parents have some college only, less than 1 year of credits each, I know my older sister can be counted as first generation. If she has already graduated from college, can the younger siblings still apply to college as first generation?

  66. So i have an older brother that went to a community college (1Gen) but he passed away 3 years ago. Does that make me first gen now ?

    1. Hi Benji, You and your siblings are all first gen if your parents did not go to college. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Warmly, Susanna

  67. Hello, I wanted to know if I would also be considered a first generation college student even though my big brother went to college before me. He is in his 2nd year of college. He was the first one to go to college and next would be me.

  68. Hello. Me again. I was wondering also, would an Associate’s degree disqualify someone from being first generation?

  69. Hello,

    If I was adopted when I was 6 years old and both my biological parents never had college degrees as well as my adoptive parents, would I be considered first gen if my adoptive father then completed a 4-year online bachelors program when I was 18?



    1. Hi Jared, You are a first gen because you were not raised with parents who graduated from a 4 year accredited US university. Cheers, Susanna

  70. So hey if my mom went to a university and didn’t graduate & Im going to a 2 year community college but transferring out to a 4 year college as a junior , would I still qualify as a first gen ?

    1. Hi Tasha, As the post above says, a first-gen is anybody whose parents that raised them did not graduate from a four year university. Best, Susanna

  71. Hi there! Both of my parents don’t have a college degree (father didn’t finish, mom didn’t attend) . My step father has a Bachelors Degree and my great grandfather attended college and became a lawyer. Would I be considered first generation? Thanks

    1. Hi Emily, I think you will have to decide based upon the influences you received at home. If you were close with or inspired or guided by someone who graduated, then you would not be a first-gen. If you received little to no guidance or inspiration IN your home about attending a four year university, then you would be a first-gen. You will have to use your best judgment. Cheers, Susanna

  72. Hello,

    We’ve been here in the US for only 6 yrs. My mom has a college degree from a university outside of US and has never used her degree to work here. Am i considered a first gen to attend college? If yes, i am confused with the college application q’s i’m working on right now. If i answer my mom finished a 4 year college, then i put i’m the first generation to attend college, it’s conficting?

    1. Hi Mary, I think in the American system you can be a first-gen in the US, since your mom is unable to help you navigate our system. Best, Susanna

  73. My parents immigrated to the US. Father did not graduate, mother has a two year Higher National Diploma from the UK. Neither attended college in the US. My older brother is currently attending a four-year college. Am I First Generation?

    1. Hi Anna, I’m not sure why this isn’t clear from my article above, but a first-gen is someone whose parents did not graduate from a four year university. This seems to apply to you. Best, Susanna

    1. Hi Derron, It’s nice to hear from you! I think you should ask your mom why she is interested in that plan. Perhaps she has reasons or ideas that would be good for you two to talk about. If not, then you can express that you are a separate person from your sister and that you have your own goals. Share with her your ideas about which college is best for you and see if just opening up the lines of communication might smooth things out. That’s always the first step. 🙂 . Susanna

  74. Hello Susanna, I am a college freshman. My biological mom and step-dad both went to a two-year school. My biological dad did earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the United States. I do not live with my dad, but I visited him every other weekend when I was a kid, and I still visit him fairly regularly. I have primarily lived with my mom and step-dad. Am I considered a first generation student? Sorry if you already answered this.

    1. Hi Cade! This would depend on your father’s influence on you, but I would say you are not a first gen because you saw him often and were inspired by his example of going to university. Let me know if there are other factors at play. 🙂 Susanna

  75. Hello Susanna once again!

    I’m just curious to know why aren’t grandparent’s education level or aunts and uncles’ education levels not always consider as a factor whether someone is first-generation or not in college applications? I can kind of see why since one generally grows up with parents and not grandparents (although some do). But that itself is a generation right?

    1. Hi Christopher! I think it’s because education is most usually linked to the influences one receives at home on a daily basis, and as a society we do tend to track people through their immediate family unit (parents-children) in terms of statistics anyway. May I ask why you are so interested in this topic? Best, Susanna

  76. Hello Susanna,

    Thank you for your response. I am only curious since different websites have different responses on its definition so it’s kind of hard to pinpoint which definition or criteria is accurate or not. Nonetheless, only curious. 🙂

    1. Hi Christopher, I would like to know your name and affiliation, and why you are so interested in this topic. Thanks! Susanna

  77. Both of my parents only attended college for a while but then dropped out. When I began college, my mom started working on finishing her bachelor’s degree at the same time. She has recently gotten her bachelor’s, and I am still in college. Could I still be considered first gen?

    My perception of a “first gen student” is not having parents as a source of information and guidance about college, since mine had attended only a few classes before dropping out. I applied at a time when I had no mentor and no advice; I even didn’t know you were supposed to study for the SAT.

    Ultimately it comes down to bubbling yes or no to “Do any of your parents have a bachelor’s?”, but it doesn’t convey my experience as a student. The definition of “first gen” can mean many things, but I was wondering if you think (by your definition and standards) that I could be considered one?

    1. Hi Meagan, Can you contact the school to which you are applying and discuss the phrasing of their question with them? I see your point entirely and you ARE a first gen, but their question does not allow you to reveal your actual experience. Contact people and let them know. 🙂
      Yay, college! Susanna

  78. Hi Susanna,

    My mom never finished at community college and I think my biological father did get a 4-year degree at the least but he was never in my life and abandoned us when I was 2 years old. My mom never remarried. My father and I recently got in touch (I am 32 years old now) and we don’t talk. Am I still considered first gen?


    1. Hi Stacey! Being a first gen means the parents who raised you did not attend a 4 year university in the US before you attended one. Can you tell me why it’s not clear from the article above? I tried to make it really clear there. Thanks! Susanna

  79. Hi Susanna,

    I am currently going to a community college and plan on transferring to a four year university my sons freshmen year of college. Would he lose his first generation status once I start at a 4 year university? He will have a more traditional college experience, live on campus, be able to pledge frats if he wants. Where as I am in my thirties and am doing my courses online/distance learning. So I really won’t be much help in helping guide him.

    1. Hi Tori, Being a first gen means the parent/s who raised you did not attend a 4 year university in the US BEFORE you attended college yourself. Could you tell me why it’s not clear from the article above? I tried to make it really clear there. Mayb e I need to add that. Thanks! Susanna

  80. If my mom graduated from a two year university and my dad graduated from a 4 yr university in a country outside of the US, does that make me a first gen student?

    1. Hello! In the US yes, first gen means that you did not have parents who attended a 4 year uni here and could help you navigate our system. Read the above article because I tried to make that very clear. Can you let me know why it’s not clear in the article? Thanks! Susanna

  81. Hey there! Probably a silly question – but I am unsure if I qualify as a first gen. Neither of my parents attended any college. However, my husband and all 3 of his siblings have college degrees. Would his college degree make any difference on whether or not I am a first generation?

  82. I am going to a community college but plan to transfer to a 4-year college. Would I still be considered a first generation college student? My parents did not graduate college or have a college degree.

    1. Hi Amy, Being a first gen means your parents did not attend a 4 year university in the US. Can you tell me why it’s not clear from the article above? I tried to make it really clear there. Thanks! Susanna

  83. My Mom graduated from a four year university. My Dad dropped out. Is it possible to be considered a 1st gen on my Dad’s side?

    1. Hi Christina! Nope. If even one parent graduated, you aren’t a first-gen. It’s on both sides. 🙂
      Thanks for writing!

  84. I’m a little confused…
    I live with my mother and grandmother, my mother attended some college but obtained no degree and my grandmother has her masters. My father’s not really in the picture and currently lives in Australia. I am unsure about his citizenship or his education level. I am hoping to reach out to him but not sure if that will be possible. Does it even matter at all since I did not grow up with him in my household?

      1. Hi Mahammond! Since you also live with your Gran who went to grad school, and if you have loved with her for the majority of your life, then you would not technically be considered a first gen. I’m about to post a video about this topic on the CollegeMapper YouTube channel, so be sure to check that out. Hope this helps! Susanna

  85. Hi! I was wondering how much step-parents count. my parents divorced when I was little and I have lived with my mom ever since. Both of my parents remarried and both of my step-parents have four-year degrees. My biological parents do not have any degrees. Do I count as first-gen? Also thanks for Writing this article =)

    1. Hi Garrett!

      Thanks so much for writing in. 🙂 Can you do me a favor? Can you take this little quiz that I just wrote, and let me know if it helps you? If it doesn’t, please let me know any and all questions you still have. I will be very happy to answer your question. This should take less than 5 minutes for you. 🙂

      Quiz: Am I a First Gen College Student?

      Thank you!

  86. Hi there. I took the quiz and read all statements. But the bubble on my college scholarship application is a simple yes or no with no room to elaborate. I am a student who was first gen when I went to college the first time. I got a bachelor’s degree 25 years ago. I am now returning to college after many years of not even being in the work force. My kids have begun college. I know they are not first gen because I have a degree. But am I still considered first gen? All I keep hearing from my kids is how different things are now and it’s true. The process is SO DIFFERENT than my first experience. My parents still have no degrees and neither do my kids. Since it is a 2nd degree for me I will be graduating faster than they will. Do I mark yes or no?

    1. Hi Jessica!

      Once a first gen, always a first gen. So it’s true for you yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  87. Hello, my mom went to community college and got her associates degree in nursing before I was born. Later on in my life she went through csusm’s extended learning RN to BSN program (online classes). She finished this program towards the end of my freshman year of high school and earned her BSN. My dad didn’t complete high school. Would I still be first gen because of her untraditional education path. Much of the college admissions process she is unsure of and I have had to research on my own.

  88. Hi there, apologies if you already answered a scenario like this. I looked through and could not find my situation.

    My mother went to college while I was in college (we went to the same community college). She transferred and received her Bachelor’s before I finished college. Am I still considered a first-generation student? Growing up, I was not raised by anyone with a degree. My mom was inspired to go to school once she saw her children were in college.

    1. Hello! I do think you are first gen for exactly the reason you state, because you were not raised by a graduate. Cheers, Susanna

  89. Hi Susanna,
    I am a little confused on the first gen topic in my case. My mother went and graduated from a 4 year college in the US and got her bachelors but my father dropped out of college only two years in. In other articles I have seen that if one parent did not graduate from a 4 year uni, then I am considered first gen. I just need clarification! Thank you

  90. Hi Susanna,

    This question has been a tough for me, I’ve never considered myself a first-generation until someone told me the true definition and mentioned how I was one. Basically my mom is a current college student but won’t receive a bachelors degree for another 3 years, however my dad does have a bachelors from another country. This is where I am confused. My parents have been divorced for years, where I don’t remember living with him. And afterwards he went to jail and I wasn’t able to see him. My mom has full custody of us, so as for influence and growing up with my father I am left confused. My dads education level was never inputted into my school files. So for the longest time I wouldn’t consider myself a first get but with my moms status I am not sure? I am confused onto what category I fit into.

  91. I have a stepson who I am married to his father. He sees his mom at times. Neither of his biological parents have a degree or any further education however, I do. I did not adopt him and my husband has full custody. Would he be considered a 1st gen?

  92. Hi Susanna,

    I’m currently working on my application for law school. During this process, I’ve found it difficult to determine whether or not I fit the definition of first-generation (even though I feel very strongly that I am given my family history), and so that’s why I wanted to reach out and see if you might be able to help me?

    I grew up being raised and supported financially by my biological father and step-mother who both completed high school but didn’t attend any post-secondary school or college. My biological mother has a bachelor’s degree but did not a raise me or provide me with financial support. The attitude of my father and step-mother towards higher education was not a supportive one.

    In the LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) profile section it is asked, “What is the highest level of formal education attained by your most highly educated parent (including birth parents, stepparents, and guardians with whom you lived at least 50% of the time through the age of 18)?”

    LSAC seems to imply that it takes into consideration any of my parent’s education level regardless of whether or not I regularly have resided or been financially supported by them.

    How do you suggest I answer this question given my history?



  93. Hi Susanna! My mom earned her associate degree when I was in middle school and my dad never entered college. Would I be considered a first generation student?

  94. Hey, so me nor my family where born here but I think my parents attended college in our home country and got some degree ( I think I am not sure I will have to ask to make sure thats correct) and they both also attend community college here in America. My dad finished community college with an associate degree but my mom is still in college with no degree. And my older sister just stared college this year, would we be considered as first generation?

  95. What if both of my parents did kind of „master” at university in different country and they didn’t went to collage or got their bachelors. They don’t exactly have a master but something comparable I think.

  96. Hello!

    My mom only has her associate’s degree. When filling out my fafsa, do I choose her education as College or other? Because stating “College” insinuates a four-year degree, to me.

    1. Hi Amanda! Email the fafsa.gov hotline to be sure, but I think when you check “College” it lets you explain.

      Yay, college!

  97. My mom graduated with her bachleors about 9 years ago, and my dad never got a degree. Does this mean I’m not first gen because my mom gained her degree years ago even though I was in high school when she did it?

    1. Hi Giselle, This is actual grey area, since she didn’t have the degree when you were growing up, but she earned it while you were still at home. I believe most colleges would not consider you first gen, since her getting a degree inspired and guided you to do the same, but you can ask your college. Best, Susanna

  98. So… My mom got her bachelor degree AFTER I had graduated college. Would I still be considered first generation?

  99. Good Morning, I’ve got a really strange question.. I think… I am not a traditional student. Obtaining my degree is more for personal satisfaction. I have been attending school part-time to finally get my bachelor’s. I don’t think my parents even graduated from high school. One of my daughters has her master’s and one is 1 year away from her bachelor’s. Since I am trying to apply for some scholarships, would I be considered a first-generation college student? My thought process is yes. I would like to get some other opinions.

    1. Hi Lisa, that’s GREAT that you are pursuing your dream! And yes, you are first gen because you do not have a parent who has a 4 year degree. Good luck getting your scholarships! Susanna

  100. Hi I’m a parent. I went to a community college, obtained my AA and went to nursing school. This past year I attended an online program and received my bachelors. My son will be applying to colleges this year. Would he be considered a first generation college student?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Mary, This is actual grey area, since you didn’t have the degree when you were growing up, but earned it while your student/child was still at home. I believe most colleges would not consider your student first gen but you can ask your specific college. Thanks!

  101. Hello Mary, I am divorced and my daughter lives with me. I never attended college but her father did attend a 4 year college. Would she be considered first generation?

  102. Hi, I was just clarifying if the 50%+ rule is an official thing that colleges use. Because I’ve looked and it seems that your adoptive parent’s education is what colleges use to determine first-gen status… According to that quiz, I’m a first-gen. Since I lived with my biological parents who BOTH DO NOT have college degrees… From Birth to 10 years old. However, I was raised by my Aunt and Uncle From the age of 10 to 17(present) but also during that time I was adopted at 13… So my Aunt and Uncle turned into my Adoptive parents. ONLY ONE of my adopted parents my adoptive father/Uncle has a 4-year degree. But according to the quiz… I’m a first-generation student since I lived with my biological parents who BOTH DO NOT have college degrees for more than 50% of my life. Regarding my adoptive Father’s/Uncle degree.

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