Top 10: Tips for 1st Gen College Students

Anna is a senior at Samford University studying
journalism and PR. Follow her on Twitter!

In this edition of the Top-10s, our newest author Anna King lets us know what it’s like being a first generation college student.

Being the first of your family members to attend college can be a bit frightening, but it will certainly make you stand out among your relatives. Whether you’re going away to school, or getting an online bachelor degree, you’ll be ahead of many other job candidates upon graduation. Just expect to have to share a ton of stories around the dinner table during family get-togethers.

Okay, so you’ve made one of the biggest (and wisest) choices of your life! You’re going to be the FIRST in your family to earn a 4-year degree.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Where do you begin?!

1. If still in high school, talk to your guidance counselor. Counselors have the best resources available for helping you find the right school and getting financial aid.

2. Also, (although it might seem intimidating) call the Admissions and Financial Aid department of the school you want to attend. Tell them you are a first generation college student, and looking for information you may need to know. (This goes A LONG way with the University).

3. Remember: most likely you have not had your future planned out by your parents. You have no clue about the FASFA and application due dates and scholarship opportunities, etc. Communication with Admissions/OFA can be vital for success with FG students.

4. Once you have declared a major, take some time to sit down with your departmental advisor personally tell them know what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re pursuing a business administration degree, read more, the advisor can help you plan out your math prerequisites. For me, talking to my advisor and letting him know “my story” proved to be the best decision I have made in my college career.

5. If at all possible, live on campus.

6. Take advantage of the career development center at the University. They help with anything from speeches and papers to cover letters and resumes.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! To anyone!

8. Make good friends. I know this seems obvious, but having a solid support system means you don’t have to go through the unknown alone.

9. Don’t be intimidated. College is a culture shock for everyone, I promise.

10. Get to know at least 3-4 classmates in each class. Exchange phone numbers. You’ll need
them throughout the semester.

Remember, you are doing something no one in your family has ever done. There will be challenges. You will grow through them. Most importantly, always keep your eye on the prize…GRADUATION! DIPLOMA!

Sincerely,

Anna K.

Check out more by Anna at her blog.

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