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 your parents 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 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! 🤓