Special Reports

How To Succeed As A First-Generation College Student


With the rising cost of tuition, there are some who believe that a college education is no longer necessary. There are those, though, who continue to persevere.

American families are being burdened by the high price they need to pay for university. First-generation students encounter more challenges as they make their way from college freshmen to graduates.

U.S. News reported that first-generation students are most often unaware of the various financial, social and educational resources that can help them with their college education. Data from the government found that students who are the first in their families to go to college are less likely to graduate within six years.

Experts noted that these first-gen students struggle with feelings of inadequacy as well as other social and psychological issues like imposter syndrome. These contribute to making the transition to college more difficult.

In order to thrive in college, first-generation students would need adequate financial and educational resources. They would also need a strong support system and good time management skills.

The publication spoke with Michelle Carter-Bailey, senior associate admissions adviser at Stony Brook University in New York, and Yolanda Norman, CEO and founder of FirstGenCollege Consulting in Texas, to talk about how first-generation students can survive and thrive in college.

First, knowing how to manage finances is a must. Students should talk to financial aid advisers and learn more about money management. On-campus jobs can give them the flexibility in terms of schedule to work and keep up with their studies.

Yolanda Norman also urged students to speak up in class especially when they don't understand a concept. "Don't be afraid to say, 'Can you explain that differently for me?' and don't be afraid once that class is over to say, 'I didn't really get it,'" she said.

Feeling out of place is common for first-generation students. Norman added that the counseling office is a great resource for students who are struggling.

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