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Help For First-Generation College Applicants

If you are the first in your family to attend college, you may find the admissions process overwhelming without the guidance of an experienced family member. From application essays to researching financial aid to choosing which schools to apply to in the first place, a little help goes a long way. U.S. News & World Report published an article detailing some colleges that are making the transition easier with summer bridge programs:

Many colleges, like George Mason University, offer summer programs that aim to ease the transition for first-gen students. [Alicia] Brissett says the school’s six-week Student Transition Empowerment Program made her a stronger student and taught her to feel proud of being a first-gen student. STEP students stay on the Virginia campus and take two three-credit classes for free the summer before their freshman year. Students have mandatory study hall and learn about campus services.

The article also provides some advice on seeking out help:

Prospective students should find out what kind of support institutions offer first-gens throughout their college experience. That includes internship and career assistance, experts say.

Students should do a site search for “first generation” or “first gen” on college websites, [Yolanda] Norman says. Students can also use those terms to find communities on social media. And look to organizations like I’m First and Communities in Schools for additional resources.

If you feel like you’re in over your head in your quest to be the first in your family to obtain a degree, you’re not on your own! Take advantage of the programs that are out there to help guide you through an otherwise daunting task.

Mark Montgomery
Expert Educational Consultant

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