right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We’ve got a new look! Walk through the key updates here.

What's the criteria for "first generation college" as a hook?

AwesomekidsmomAwesomekidsmom 204 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
Hi - I've seen it mentioned here and elsewhere that being the first generation in your family to go to college can be a hook. My sister's granddaughter is an excellent student (currently freshman in HS) who has been raised in a low income single parent household. None of her parents or grandparents attended college, but one great-grandparent, her grandparents' siblings, and an uncle have graduated from college. Is she considered first generation or not?
18 replies
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: What's the criteria for "first generation college" as a hook?

  • texaspgtexaspg 16463 replies339 discussionsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,802 Forum Champion
    edited December 2014
    It is usually one's immediate family - neither of the parents have ever attended college.

    It gets slightly murky once your siblings start or have completed college.

    The common app asks for details on your parents and siblings which tells the reviewers whether you have been exposed to anyone in the family with prior college experience.

    This only works with tippy top colleges which seem to have a goal to ensure everyone has access to college despite their surroundings. If she is applying to State colleges, it won't be of any help.
    edited December 2014
    · Reply · Share
  • warblersrulewarblersrule 9963 replies170 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 10,133 Super Moderator
    edited December 2014
    I've seen it mentioned here and elsewhere that being the first generation in your family to go to college can be a hook.
    Nearly a third of American students below the age of 18 are first generation students, per NCES. The relatively educated and affluent crowd on CC differs markedly from the overall demographics of college admissions, which has led some posters to place too much weight on FG status.

    It may be a "tip" factor, particularly if it's coupled with URM status, coming from an underrepresented state, etc. I wouldn't consider it a hook.
    edited December 2014
    · Reply · Share
  • texaspgtexaspg 16463 replies339 discussionsForum Champion Pre-Med & Medical Posts: 16,802 Forum Champion
    I am not certain it is not a hook for the right candidates (high academic achievement with low SES and if URM all the better), especially when schools like Yale and Penn are trumpeting numbers exceeding 12% for first gen.

    There are school districts like Houston Independent School district which are building entire programs around this concept to push kids through into many of the CC darlings at the top end.

    http://www.houstonisd.org/Page/112999

    Although it says underserved communities, it goes without saying that the low income status is tied to the lower education levels of the parents in a majority of these cases.
    · Reply · Share
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12391 replies228 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Some colleges consider an applicant first-gen if neither parent got a college degree, even if they did attend college.

    This site has some useful info, a list of colleges that are interested in first-gen students, etc: http://www.imfirst.org/
    edited December 2014
    · Reply · Share
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83912 replies1003 discussionsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,915 Forum Champion
    At many schools, it's not a hook at all....there are so many first-gens out there.

    At some top schools, if there is a first-gen, low-income applicant, there may be some special consideration when compared to another who has similar stats, but lived in the lap of comfort (first gen or not). Not all first-gen are also low income. There are a good number of middle/upper middle and upper class income people who never went to college.
    · Reply · Share
  • AwesomekidsmomAwesomekidsmom 204 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 217 Junior Member
    Thanks. I was just curious. I didn't know if it was a specific question on the applications or not. It sounds like they ask about parent and sibling education and make their own determination. I didn't remember seeing it when my son filled out his applications, but I wasn't looking for it. I'm not too worried about her getting into schools - she's a fantastic student who scores well on tests.
    · Reply · Share
  • BrownParentBrownParent 12597 replies179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    No it is not a specific question. It is just something that is considered or not considered, as reported on the Common Data Set. Since all parts of the application are puzzle pieces that fit together you can't take this to the bank or anything.
    · Reply · Share
  • younghossyounghoss 3164 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,182 Senior Member
    If my grandfather(for example) graduated college, I absolutely would not consider myself first generation college.
    If it intended to refer only to immediate family, the question would be worded: "did your parents go to college?". But it isn't.
    To be first generation to do something, no previous generation of mine did what I am about to do, as I see it.

    Here's an example I use, just to show what I mean. If Olivia Newton-John was applying for college and asked that question, what would she say? I don't think either of her parents attended college, but her grandfather was Max Born!
    If I were in admissions and saw she answered she was first-gen, then with that HUGE falsehood I'd throw her app out.

    However there is sure a difference between first generation to attend college and first generation to graduate college.
    · Reply · Share
  • irlandaiseirlandaise 670 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 720 Member
    @younghoss‌ Where is there a question worded, "Are you the first generation to attend college?"? The common app asks specifically for your parents' levels of education, which allows admissions officers to decide if you're considered first generation or not. It's not a question of self-identification, you just have to answer the questions accurately.
    · Reply · Share
  • younghossyounghoss 3164 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,182 Senior Member
    Where was that wording? Easy. It was in the query of the OP in post 1, where Awesomekidsmom said this: "the first generation in your family to go to college can be a hook." So that was what I addressed in my post, and hypothetically addressed in the ONJ example.
    · Reply · Share
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12391 replies228 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    The ca doesn't ask about grandparents.
    · Reply · Share
  • Madison85Madison85 10288 replies407 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10,695 Senior Member
    Who is Max Born?
    · Reply · Share
  • irlandaiseirlandaise 670 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 720 Member
    But your hypothetical situation... doesn't exist. At least as far as I know. The term "first gen college student" is a term that encompasses a set of questions on the Common App/other college apps. It's never asked specifically if one is the first generation to attend college.
    · Reply · Share
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8422 replies305 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,727 Senior Member
    Max Born was a German physicist and Nobel prize winner.

    Perhaps the confusion comes from the various definitions of first generation: the NCES (Nat'l Ctr for Educ Statistics) defines it as a student whose parents had no more than a HS education; the College Board defines it as a student whose parents didn't finish a 2-year degree; federal programs define it as a student whose parents didn't complete a 4-year degree. What they do seem to agree on is that it's based on parents, not grandparents or other relatives.
    · Reply · Share
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8422 replies305 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,727 Senior Member
    edited January 2015
    Apparently, colleges can have their own definitions:

    Marquette's counseling documents define "1st-Generation College Students" as "those whose parents and grandparents did not attend or graduate from college."

    Cleveland State includes grandparents in their definition as do Southern Utah and the Univ of Houston.

    Maybe it's one of the things students have to ask each college individually...
    edited January 2015
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity