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Should I (mom) delay my college graduation so my son can apply as "first generation"?

FafsaQuestionsFafsaQuestions 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello! My son will be graduating from high school in 2023. Neither his dad nor I graduated from college so he is "first generation." I'm currently working on getting my degree (part-time) and if I continue at the pace I'm going right now, I would graduate in Spring 2022. He would be doing his college applications in Fall 2022 (6 months later). I'm thinking I could delay my graduation by 9 months or so, so that he can still apply as first generation. I wanted to get some information on how much of an impact being "first generation" would have on both his acceptances and scholarship offers to help me decide whether I should delay my graduation or not. Thank you!
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Replies to: Should I (mom) delay my college graduation so my son can apply as "first generation"?

  • skieuropeskieurope 38845 replies6862 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    There is no box on the application that says "Check here if you are first gen." The student lists his/her parents info, and the college does with it what it will. Different colleges have different definitions of first gen; some is the first gen to attend college while others is the first gen to graduate. Similarly, some colleges place greater weight on first gen than others. There is no blanket answer. In terms of a hook, it's probably minimal, and even then, the applicant would need to be strong on his/her own.

    Is it enough to delay graduation? Not in my mind.
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  • FafsaQuestionsFafsaQuestions 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes, that makes sense on it not doing much on its own. I know that the vast majority will be based on his stats and his hard work. I do know that some schools offer scholarships for first generation college students, and honestly we could really use that help financially.

    I can see what you're saying about "gaming the system" but I don't really view it that way. He will have grown up his entire life (up to his senior year in high school) with neither parent being a college graduate. So if I graduate the year he graduates HS from my viewpoint that doesn't change much for him in comparison to other students whose parents didn't graduate from college. If I felt there were something dishonest about it, I definitely wouldn't do it.

    Thanks for your input!
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  • lovecpalovecpa 8 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 15
    It's up to you and your son to discern whether he is "first generation." My reaction was similar to collegemom3717's. It feels like he is soon to be "second" generation because you are a college student and soon to graduate. If you will have graduated by the time he submits his application, then he would need to answer honestly that one parent is a college graduate.

    There are entering college students out of high school whose parents are not college graduates, nor had they the luxury/opportunity/means of pursuing a college education. The "impact" you're asking about is probably negligible (one or two scholarships? First generation status is probably one factor weighed less than essays, extracurricular activities, and grades). I would also consider how delaying your graduation could mean an increase in tuition for you.
    edited August 15
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 706 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    You'd kind of be asking your child to lie on his applications - I'm sure you don't want to do that. Even if it isn't a total lie, it's stretching the truth and I doubt you want to encourage that in your child. Right?
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  • FafsaQuestionsFafsaQuestions 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for all the responses. I definitely wouldn't ask my son to lie and I can understand how it's coming across that way. From my understanding, on the common app in the section the student fills out about the parents, there is a question asking about their education level. So, it would mean the difference between him selecting "some college" (current status) or "bachelor's degree" which will be the case when I'm done. If both parents are "some college" or below, that is considered by most colleges to be "first generation."

    So, if I haven't graduated by the time he's applying "some college" would still be the honest answer to the question. It *is* true that I will be *almost* graduated though. It sounds like I should just move forward with my plans and just graduate on schedule, which means I'd graduate a few months before he's doing his applications. I definitely don't want to do something that could be perceived as being shady.

    Thanks!
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  • bobo44bobo44 227 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I can only remember entering information about my (single mother) educational status on the common app, but maybe a few non-common app universities asked for this too. I do not think it would be dishonest for you to slow down your final course load to graduate after your son's applications, so that he can honestly answer "highest education level completed" as HS for you and husband. And congratulations to you for your efforts! I'm sure it has not been easy to continue your education at this age and stage.
    As you said, your son has been raised in a family without the advantages of a college educated parent. His first 17 years count! If, on the other hand, an application asks: "no college, some college, completed Bachelor's, completed post-grad," then you would honestly mark "some college".
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  • FafsaQuestionsFafsaQuestions 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks @bobo44 . That aligns with what I had been thinking, as well. I was kind of surprised by the other responses. But it did make think twice since I don't want to do something (or have him do something) that others would feel is dishonest. (It just hadn't crossed my mind as possibly being seen that way!)

    And yes, what you said is exactly what my understanding was--that it's just a matter of checking a box for the highest level of education completed. So, he'd just honestly check whatever is the highest level at the time when he's filling out the applications. I may actually need to take a semester off next year anyway due to some work obligations, so this question may actually end up being irrelevant if that happens!

    Thanks again for your input.
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  • FafsaQuestionsFafsaQuestions 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @cinnamon1212 your response literally made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I appreciate it!
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  • FafsaQuestionsFafsaQuestions 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Groundwork2022 That's a good idea! I hadn't thought about him giving that additional information, which would help give a more complete picture.
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  • hophop 976 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    When an application asks about a parent and their schooling, they ask about what school they went to and what month and year they graduated.
    Since yours will be very recent, most schools - if they're interested in that sort of info - will clearly get the picture.

    I really like the idea of an essay about watching a parents' persistence toward improving their knowledge and fulfilling or completing a degree regardless of age.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29243 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, I would delay the graduation if it made a difference at the schools on my son’s list. Some schools like Duke and the UCs take that heavily into consideration. Some schools, not so much or at all. I don’t think it’s gaming the system if the definition fits the school. It’s good strategy and sense. Unless it’s holding up something job wise or important enough for you to go on ahead and get that degree ASAP


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  • cshell2cshell2 414 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    skieurope wrote: »
    There is no box on the application that says "Check here if you are first gen." The student lists his/her parents info, and the college does with it what it will. Different colleges have different definitions of first gen; some is the first gen to attend college while others is the first gen to graduate. Similarly, some colleges place greater weight on first gen than others. There is no blanket answer. In terms of a hook, it's probably minimal, and even then, the applicant would need to be strong on his/her own.

    Is it enough to delay graduation? Not in my mind.

    Actually, DS did have an application last week that asked specifically if his mother and/or father graduated from college.
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  • EconPopEconPop 117 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    People's responses have been a little holier than thou. It's ok for the Kushners to donate big bucks so Jared goes to an ivy league school, but heaven forbid a parent delay graduating college by a few months. Will it make a big difference? I have no idea -- though I suspect if the kid has strong stats and applies to top schools, it probably would help. But spare me -- if something a) was legal b) wasn't much of a hardship for you and c) helped your kid get into a great school -- 99% of parents would do it in a heartbeat.
    After reading some of the early responses, I wasn't sure how to respond. Then I read this and decided I need only quote it. Perfect!
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 348 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    hop wrote: »
    When an application asks about a parent and their schooling, they ask about what school they went to and what month and year they graduated

    Actually I am pretty sure they do not ask for the parents graduation year.

    At least with the schools my sons applied to.

    I think many schools do want 1st gen students. If they didn't consider 1st gen important, they wouldn't ask about it. All else being close to equal it's a finger on the scale. Especially at a place like Harvard, or similar elite, struggling to balance out all the privileged kids. It might not make such a difference at a school that doesn't face that issue.

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  • International DadInternational Dad 299 replies7 threadsRegistered User Member
    I don’t think that @FafsaQuestions is asking to her son to lie in his application, If she suspend her studies and not graduated at moment of her son application, he is not lying. is a strategy, I don’t know how important is to be a first generation student in an application success , but for me she is not doing wrong in the application process.
    It’s like you grandfather wants give you money for college and you tell him, thanks, but better give me the money the next year, because the money can affect my financial aid this year.
    This is strategy, is wrong just if you. received the money and not report to college.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12724 replies235 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is all 3-4 years out so you don't really need to make this call right now, do you? He may apply to places that put weight on being 1st gen, he may not. You may be ready to finish in 2022, you may not.
    If it's close and he applies to places where it matters, i suppose a delay would help, unless it cost you money or whatever.
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