Being the first in your family to attend university is a tremendous honor, but it is also a massive responsibility. Many first-generation students feel a substantial burden on their shoulders, often with less support than students whose parents and grandparents attended college before them.
If you feel overwhelmed about your move to post-secondary education as the first in your family to do so, keep reading to discover things you need to do to have the best possible experience.
1) Find Special Scholarships
Paying for college can be challenging, no matter what your background is; however, first-generation students often have an even more difficult time. This challenge is no reason to panic. Many organizations and foundations offer scholarships specifically for first-generation students like the Jasdeep Singh Scholarship for first-in-family post-secondary students.
There are many similar options out there; you just need to look for them. Do not be afraid to ask your school for help too.
2) Seek Academic Support Resources
Many first-generation students are used to doing many things all on their own. However, you need to understand that many universities have resources that you can take advantage of. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Try to be proactive in asking for the things you need. It would be worse not to ask for help until it was too late, and you got a failing grade or suffered some other setback.
Some universities even have support groups for first-generation students. Consider seeking one of these groups out so that you feel less alone and have an easier transition to college life.
3) Get Involved
Getting involved on campus is a great way to make friends, explore your interests, and boost your resume. Finding people that are interested in the same things you are can help you feel at home even if you are extremely far away from your actual home.
Joining a club or on-campus organization can do wonders in helping you feel like you belong. You may even discover a new hobby or even a potential career path from a school organization.
4) Assess What You Can Handle
On the other hand, you need to make sure that you do not get too involved. School should be your number one priority. You do not want to let your extra-curricular activities get in the way of the education that you are paying for.
If you need to work while attending school, making sure you do not get overloaded becomes even more critical. Many classes and majors require certain GPAs to continue enrollment, so you need to ensure that you do not fall behind.
5) Stick to Your Budget
It can be easy to get excited once you get to your college. For many people, it is their first time on their own, and they can easily get carried away in terms of having a good time and spending money.
Unfortunately, many first-generation students are at a disadvantage in this arena due to a lack of intergenerational wealth. To ensure that you do not find yourself in a massive amount of debt, try to take a hard look at your finances and make a budget for yourself that you can stick with.
Being the first in your family to go to college is no easy task. However, it is certainly not impossible. Always remember that you should never doubt yourself and that you are taking on this challenge to provide more opportunities for your future family. You can do anything you set your mind to and remember that there are people out there who want to help you!