Being a first-generation college student isn’t easy. For these students who have little or no collegiate family history, entering a college atmosphere with limited knowledge about what to expect can make navigating their first semester on campus difficult. Many first-generation college students typically carry financial burdens that outweigh those of their peers, are more likely to work while attending school, and often require significant academic support.
The pressure is real. Not only are they entering unfamiliar territory when beginning their first week of classes, but their families may not understand the demands of college. First-generation students sometimes doubt their academic abilities and experience imposter syndrome, resulting in feeling as though they are not “college material” or capable of finding a career after college.
As a first-generation college student, it is common to experience pride, guilt, and a strong sense of responsibility being the first of their family to attend a college or university. Unfortunately, this can result in a large amount of pressure to succeed on behalf of one’s family.
In order to address many of these feelings, it is important for first-generation students to receive support. Students might benefit from visiting I’m First, an online community celebrating first-generation college students. The Julia N. Visor Academic Center can be a great resource on campus in helping first-generation students begin to manage their schedule, learn study techniques, and obtain one-on-one coaching. When facing many of the demands that first generation college students experience, there may be times when one might benefit from meeting with an individual counselor at Student Counseling Services to discuss some of these concerns and assist first-generation students with transitioning to college.