First Generation College Students

What is it and why is it a big deal?


No matter who you are, you’ve probably heard the term “first generation college student” at least once, but what exactly is that? A first-generation college student is someone in their immediate family that are the first to attend a 4-year college or university. Which means neither of your parents have finished college or have gotten a degree. But why do people make such a big deal about this? It gives the family a feeling of pride and like they have made progress. Many feel it is an honor and a privilege to be able to do what their parents could not. Many times, people don’t attend or finish college because they can’t afford it or don’t have the resources to do so. Most aren’t given the chance to even attempt to attend a college. So, when these kids fight against the odds and take a risk to do something no one in their family has done before, it’s a big deal. It’s not easy either, because they’re first gen, they’re basically on their own when figuring college stuff out, but in the end it’s worth it.  

“It’s a big deal because I’m gonna be the one supporting my family when they’re old and I need to have money to do that.” – Mansi Kanoujia (12)
“I just need to get out of Santa Maria because if I stay here I’m not gonna do anything with my life and I’ll lose motivation. My parents just want what’s best for me. They’re upset that I’m leaving, but they’re supportive that I’m doing something with my life.” – Anayeli Mendoza (12)
“I’m under a lot of pressure, because the younger generations in my family will be looking up to me. They’re following my steps and it’s like I’m making a path for them to follow.” – Karen Kanoujia (12)
“Being a first generation college student means that all my sacrifices are paying off. Me stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things I like doing, and all my hard work is paying off. My mom is really proud of me because I’m the first one going to college. I struggled so much to get to this point.” – Helen Guillen (12)
“Because I’m the first one going to college, my parents don’t know what to expect. If anything, I have it easy. I’m getting support rather than pressure. I’m being hyped up by my family for continuing my education.” – Abigail Prado (12)