Will you be the first in your family to go to college? If so, then you are a first generation student.
As you go to fill out your college applications this fall you may notice that many schools ask this question of their applicants. Colleges have started collecting this information for a variety of reasons. A recent article in the NY Times Tips for First-Generation College Applicants explains that many colleges are looking for a diverse student body and for students who are coming from different backgrounds. As such, numerous colleges have begun to track this statistic. Therefore, it is worth filling out this often “optional” question on the college application if it applies to you.
As well, some colleges may offer scholarships for first generation students or additional support services. Many colleges want to help these students find the opportunities that their family before them did not have. The article also advises that different colleges have varying definitions of first-generation status so it is worth confirming with your college what their definition is.
If you are going to be a first generation college student you may also find some resources at http://www.firstgenerationstudent.com/ .