5 Resources for Students Who Are the First in their family to go to College

Being the first in the family to go to college comes with unexpected challenges. These programs can help students overcome obstacles and thrive in college.

Adjusting to college is tough for most fresh-faced college freshmen. But for the teens who are the first in their family to attend a university, it’s essentially like arriving in an unfamiliar foreign land. No matter how well-prepared and smart the student, the economic, academic, and cultural differences can undermine self-esteem and shake confidence. As one student told the researchers behind the Pell Institute’s report What Works for First-Generation College Students, “Getting into college is one thing. It’s actually sticking it through that’s the hard part.” Often, first-generation students describe the feeling of living in two different worlds — their family life and their college life — and not feeling like they truly, completely belong in either one.

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