First-generation students currently make up roughly 30% of the college student population. One out of every three students is the first in their family to attend college. Without a parent or guardian to help guide them through the college application process, first-generation students have their own sets of hurdles.
Due to the added difficulties of being a first-generation student, schools have extra resources to help them succeed.
Scholarships for first-generation college students
Scholarships are one of the most valuable resources available. They’re a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid and can significantly help cover tuition costs.
When beginning the scholarship search, students should set a meeting with an on-campus guidance counselor. Many counselors are familiar with the scholarship application process and have resources to help you get started.
There are also many top-rated scholarship search sites with thousands of opportunities for first-generation students. It’s important to note, that when pursuing Financial Aid of any kind, filing FAFSA®, is essential.
Career Center resources for first-generation students
Career centers are located on campus and offer student help for:
- Finding a job or internship
- Writing a resume or cover letter
- Networking skills
- General career planning
Career Center resources are especially helpful for first-generation college students. Some career centers even offer the opportunity to meet with a career advisor to help identify potential career paths and outline the educational plan to get there.
Students can access and take advantage of all of these resources at no cost and expand on their skills to prepare them for the job market.
Living Learning or Themed Housing Communities for first-generation students
These communities or “living cohorts” are different from general residential halls because the populations all have something in common. While some of the more common communities are based around student academic goals, interests, and backgrounds, some colleges offer this for first-generation students specifically.
The school can help first-generation students build a network of support. Whether it’s an entire dorm building or specific floors, schools will try to place like-students together to make the experience more comfortable and supportive.
First-generation students can feel a lot of pressure to succeed while venturing into the unknown. By utilizing the resources above, students can feel more confident and prepared to take charge of their futures.