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First-Generation College Students

Being the first member of your family to go to college can be both exciting and overwhelming.

It means that you'll be the first in your family to experience all the incredible things college life has to offer, but it also means that you do not have someone in your family to guide you through the college preparation and application process.

Here's the good news: you are not alone!

There are lots of first-generation college students just like you. Hear their stories and connect with them through such groups as:

Here's more good news: there are lots of resources available to help you.

  • Get to know your guidance counselor. S/he can help you figure out which classes to take to best prepare for college and walk you through the financial aid and college application process.
  • Reach out to family friends who went to college. Ask them to tell you about their experiences and share their advice on preparing for and applying to college.
  • Check the web. There are tons of websites (including this one!) that offer advice on the college application process. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • Get on the phone. Call college admissions and financial aid offices directly. The people working there will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do to apply. 
  • Investigate programs for first-generation college students. Several colleges offer specific programs like F.I.R.S.T at the University of Maryland, College Park to help first-generation college students succeed.
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