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What does first generation college student mean?

heather123heather123 Posts: 45Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2010 in College Admissions
What does it mean? And why do they ask?
Post edited by heather123 on
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Replies to: What does first generation college student mean?

  • MeKimberMeKimber Posts: 70Registered User Junior Member
    It means that you are the first in your immediate family to go to college. ie...your parents have up to a high school diploma only.
  • MeKimberMeKimber Posts: 70Registered User Junior Member
    some schools have special programs for first generation students and also offer additional aid to qualifying families with first generation students. It really all depends on the school.
  • mickymick56mickymick56 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    what if neither of your parents graduated college, but you have older siblings that have gone before you? would you still be a first generation college student?
  • mojeniebomojeniebo Posts: 89Registered User Junior Member
    Yes, you still are first generation.
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,656Registered User Senior Member
    Different colleges/programs use different definitions of first gen. Some consider you first gen if neither of your parents ever attended college, others consider you first gen if neither of your parents earned a college degree. None of them consider siblings, only parents.

    First gen can sometimes be a tip factor for college admissions.

    For college admissions, they don't actually ask directly, rather they ask for each parent: college attended (if any), degree earned and what year. From that information, THEY determine if you fit into their definition of first gen.

    FYI: This is a FAQ here on CC and it is easy to use the Search function to find many pertinent threads.
  • oahuuuoahuuu Posts: 33Registered User New Member
    Why do colleges favor 1st generation students?
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,656Registered User Senior Member
    Because they haven't had the advantage of having parents who understand college admissions and possibly who don't recognize or support the importance of a college education.
  • fireandrainfireandrain Posts: 3,407Registered User Senior Member
    It's another diversity factor. It often means the family comes from a lower socio-economic group, parents are working class/blue collar. The college feels it is serving society by accepting a student who is getting a higher education than their parents.
  • OnesOnes Posts: 176Registered User Junior Member
    What if your parents attended college in another country?
  • anagenesisanagenesis Posts: 341Registered User Member
    ^ That definitely doesn't count. First gen is if your parents haven't gone to college (or haven't completed college in some cases) EVER, whether the college is in the U.S. or in India doesn't matter.
  • CORNELLED1CORNELLED1 Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    How do admission officers know and check about first generation college international students?
  • smileygerlsmileygerl Posts: 323Registered User Member
    Some colleges consider you a first generation college student if you go to a 4yr college and you parents graduated from a 2yr college(Cornell and MIT per their admission office).
  • nedo99nedo99 Posts: 19Registered User New Member
    My counselor said I was a first gen college student because my parents went to schools in the Soviet Union that don't exist anymore, even though my Mom got her MBA here. I hope she's right, but I don't have tremendous confidence in her.
  • glassesarechicglassesarechic Posts: 5,481Registered User Senior Member
    Being first generation is rarely a hook, though it can be a small tip factor in admissions.
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,656Registered User Senior Member
    How do admission officers know and check about first generation college international students?

    Like so many things on a college application (ethnicity, race, essays, ECs, etc.), what you put down about the college education of your parents is generally not checked by adcoms. That's not so say is won't be if adcoms suspect something, remember the internet makes information extremely available world wide. Also remember that no factor, including first gen, is taken in isolation, it will be considered along with the rest of your application. IMO, the risk you take when you lie about anything in your application is not worth the possible gain in doing so.
    My counselor said I was a first gen college student because my parents went to schools in the Soviet Union that don't exist anymore, even though my Mom got her MBA here.

    Sorry, but your GC is wrong. Attending college is attending college, whether it's in the US or anywhere else, whether the school is still around or not.

    Please everybody, go back to post #6:
    Different colleges/programs use different definitions of first gen. Some consider you first gen if neither of your parents ever attended college, others consider you first gen if neither of your parents earned a college degree. None of them consider siblings, only parents.

    First gen can sometimes be a tip factor for college admissions.

    For college admissions, they don't actually ask directly, rather they ask for each parent: college attended (if any), degree earned and what year. From that information, THEY determine if you fit into their definition of first gen.
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