I'm a 1st Gen. Are You?

The following is a message from UACCM Counseling and Disability Services. 

College was something I had prepared for my whole life, yet I had many questions and didn't know the answers. How was a tire salesman going to pay for college living paycheck to paycheck? Would I qualify for Work-Study? How do loans work? What is a FAFSA? How do I get scholarships? What degree is going to get me a job? My parents could not answer any of these questions because they had never been to college. In fact, they had the same questions I had, and then some. 

If you're a first-generation college student, you probably aren't as familiar with the college experience as someone who has at least one parent with a college degree. My mother and father had never spent any time in a college classroom, much less earn a degree. So there we were, drowning in a sea of information and trying to learn how to swim. I quickly found out that getting into college and paying for it was only half of the battle, and there were many more questions and obstacles I needed help with. 

Your story may not be identical to mine, but I'm sure it strikes a chord if you're a first-generation student. The following quote is from a 2011 Higher Education Research Institution report: 

First-generation students were less likely to complete their college degree in six years than their peers whose parents had a least some college experience (50% first-generation versus 64% non-first-generation). 

At UACCM Counseling & Disability Services, we understand that first-generation students may need some help along the way, so we have developed a bimonthly support group to help with that. Students can choose to come on the day that best fits their schedule. UACCM instructors and staff members who were also first-generation students will share their stories, answer questions, and help with creating a place for community. 

If you're 1st Gen., we invite you to join us! 

Cody Davis, LPC
Director of Counseling & Disability Services


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