First-Gen Students Supported When Taking On College Today

Three Guilford College students walk by the Orangerie at Binford Hall.

I am a proud first-generation college student. My parents were smart and curious but from a time when kids from poor/working class families went to work young. College was not on the horizon for them.

In high school, I was pretty nerdy (I took Latin IV AP), fairly smart, and I worked hard (most of the time). There wasn’t a lot of guidance for a “good kid” in a class of 700+ students. But we figured it out. We followed friends’ families as they went to college fairs and visited colleges.

My alma mater was typical for the time and didn’t really have any bridge programs, counselors, or groups dedicated to supporting first-generation kids. I am happy to report that’s not the case today. So many colleges and universities offer programs, faculty-mentoring support, and just a safe space to ask questions. Here’s a small sampling of first-gen programs offered by CTCL member schools: Eckerd College, Clark University, Agnes Scott College, Allegheny College, Beloit College, Whitman College, Reed College.

As we go into a new year, let’s all be proud to share our backgrounds (first-gen or not) with students who may not be willing to ask. I am a proud first-generation college student and I am excited to see the next generation of first-gen kids take on college — and the world.

Safe, restful holidays to you all.