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What's a first generation student?

My parents are from Pakistan and graduated college there before moving to the US. I was born in the US and will be applying to college this fall. Am I a first-generation college student? I have a brother at U Illinois right now so that might matter as well. Thank you.
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Replies to: What's a first generation student?

  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert 3184 replies1122 threads CC Admissions Expert
    You are a First Generation AMERICAN but NOT a First Generation COLLEGE student. What is the difference? The latter group (students whose parents never earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent ANYWHERE) often get special consideration as admission officers attempt to diversify their student bodies by accepting applicants who come from a broad range of backgrounds. It’s not unusual for admission committees to give extra leeway when it comes to test scores, grades, and even extracurricular choices, to those whose parents don’t hold a college degree. First-gen-to-college students are also eligible for scholarships (either offered by outside organizations or sometimes by the colleges themselves) that are earmarked for those who are the first in their families to attend college. Students whose parents went to college outside the US are NOT eligible for these scholarships.

    However, being a first-generation AMERICAN may give a student special consideration, too, especially if English isn’t spoken at home. In these cases, the admission folks might also allow a bit of extra leeway for sub-par test scores, grades, etc. But it really depends on other factors as well ... such as the parents’ level of education, their professions, how long they’ve lived in the US, and where they live.

    So, although you and your brother are NOT considered “First gen to college,” it’s POSSIBLE that you might get a smidgeon of advantage at admission decision time because you’re the first in your generation to be born here and you grew up juggling two cultures and maybe two languages.
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