First Generation students are the first to attend college in their families. Therefore, they face high college dropout rates. Why? They face a lot of challenges.
The following categories are challenges first generations face in college.
First generation students lack the financial resources to pay for tuition, and they receive very little financial support from their families. They have to work and go to school. This reduces the time they can devote to study and it takes longer to graduate. First generations also have to bear the burden of supporting their families financially.
These students find it hard to reach out and share their experiences with their families. None of their parents have attended college. Many end up struggling with college applications, courses selection, and lack emotional support.
First generations attended high schools that did not prepare them for the tough academic standards of colleges. In addition, they are unprepared to handle the workload and they wind up in remedial classes because of very poor grades. The cost of books and other related expenses put great strains on them. They also get lost navigating the college system and do not know who to turn to for guidance. This causes them to have low self-esteem and to feel inferior to other students.
They feel they don’t belong in college. However, most stay to make their families happy. First generation students feel a disconnect with their families and struggle to fit into the alien world of college.
Providing these students with appropriate help is the key. If they have access to mentors at various stages for pre-college application to post-graduation, they will have an easier time adjusting to their new environment. For examples, they need someone to provide them with information on various networking opportunities to make it easier to find jobs and internships. In addition, colleges need to help them with paperwork, especially financial sheets.
To succeed, these students need support from their families and the colleges.