High school graduates’ transitions to college can be very difficult–especially for first generation students. A first-generation student is a student whose parents or guardians have not completed a bachelor’s degree. They are, essentially, the first person in their immediate family to attend a four-year college or university.
According to the First-Generation Foundation, 50 percent of college students in 2010 were first-generation students. However, only a small percentage of these students actually graduate with a bachelor’s degree. This foundation provides many useful tools to motivate first-generation students to stay persistent and graduate.
Danielle Moss Lee, CEO of YWCA in New York, created the following Power List for high school administrators and educators to motivate all future first-generation college students to graduate.
- Early and Frequent College Exposure – take your students to the local college or university to familiarize them with that environment and/or open communication on the subject.
- What do you want to be when you grow up? – ask students “Who do you want to be when you grow up” instead so they can start focusing on becoming that person first and then realize what career path they want to pursue based on that.
- College match, match, match! – help students look at colleges that not only match them for academic reasons, but also match how comfortable the student will feel attending (campus life, culture, location and size).
- Money and status – encourage your students and their families to start looking at scholarship opportunities as soon as possible and know immigration status of your students so they are prepared for any processes vital to obtaining financial aid.
- Sharing stories – bring current first-generation students and their families into the classroom to share their experiences and provide comfort for students and families who will later be going through a similar experience.
To read more on this list, click here.
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