Parents & Families

First Generation Families


Who is a first-generation student?

A first-generation student is a college student who is the first in their family (one or more parent does not have a four-year college degree) to go to and graduate from college.


We understand there are many checklist items to take care of before your student is admitted and starts classes on campus. As we've mentioned in our Overview & Advice section, each family's experience will be different. We also know that for some families this experience will be completely new.

Having a student who is the first member of a family to attend college brings a great sense of pride to a family. For parents of a first-generation college student, we want to help you navigate this transition for you and your student. 

Many common concerns for first-generation students and their families include:

  • Academic adjustment - "I don't understand this assignment; maybe I'm not smart enough."
  • Time management - "How can I get this homework done when I have to work 30 hours?"
  • Financial concerns - "It seems like everyone goes out to eat every night; I can't afford that."
  • Feelings of isolation - "Everyone else seems to know what to do; no one else in my family finished college, so maybe I wasn't meant to either."

Did you know...

  • Only 30% of first-generation students utilized academic support services, compared to 37% of their continuing-generation peers.
  • 65% of first-generation students use financial aid services, compared to only 49% of their continuing-generation peers.

As a family member of a first-generation college student, we understand that helping guide your student through their college transition can be difficult. We hope this site will help you navigate your and your student's transitions.

Parents & Families