First-generation college and university students in the United States are defined as those whose parents did not attend college. According to Wikipedia, first-generation college students tend to be older, come from families with lower incomes, attend college part-time, live off-campus, and have more work responsibilities as compared to continuing-generation college students.
First-generation students can be found in every academic setting and at every college and university in the country. They’re of different races, cultures, and social classes. But what they typically share is a mismatch between the environments in which they were raised and that of their school. That makes intuitive sense to me as a child of parents and grandchild of grandparents who all attended college as I wasn’t surprised by most of what I encountered when in undergraduate and then graduate but my friends who were first-generation students were often bewildered and struggled to adapt. The families of those friends wanted just as badly or even more badly than mine to help with how to enroll, choose classes, study, prepare for finals, and more. Those families, however, were at a disadvantage as compared to mine as they simply did not have the personal experiences of having attended college themselves. My friends, therefore, were also at a disadvantage and had to work hard and smart just to get to the same playing field that I landed on with little effort of my own.
Read entire article HERE