Becoming a First Generation College Student

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First GenDuring our first College Readiness Coffee Talk, the term first generation college student entered the conversation. Do you know the definition of a first generation college student?

The U.S. Department of Education’s TRIO program, a group of Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defines a first generation student as one whose parents have not earned a bachelors degree. Sometimes students make the mistake of thinking they are not “first gen” if their brother or sister went to college before them. That incorrect definition may cause students to miss important scholarship and grant opportunities.

Navigating the path to and through college is scary, but more and more first generation students from HISD are going to college and thriving. Phuong Ta, a 2012 Chavez graduate and EMERGE Fellow, wrote about her experience on the First Generation Student website.

Colleges are taking note of the increased enrollment of first generation students. More resources are being dedicated to support students toward successfully graduating from college. Nonprofit organizations such as I’m First, an online community founded by the Center for Student Opportunity to provide first generation college students with inspiration, information, and support on the road to and through college, provide a virtual support system for first generation students and their families.

Talking to friends and family about educational goals and aspirations is important to post-secondary success. Click here for some more great resources to get the conversations going.



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