November is National First Generation Student month and it was celebrated by the University this past week with events that highlighted these students, which is only one example of how well the University of La Verne does in recognizing their unique challenges.
For a student to qualify as first-generation, neither parent must have not gone to college. This means that one is still a first-generation student even if they have siblings that have attended college.
ULV has an exceptionally high rate of students that are first-generation, making up 41% of the main campus undergraduate population in 2018, according to the University Census.
La Verne has done a great job in taking into consideration whether a student’s parent has gone to college, and has given students the opportunity to change their life for the betterment of themselves and future generations.
Applying to college can be confusing and stressful because of the test requirements, financial paperwork, personal statements, picking out a major and finding the right school is overwhelming. For a teenager that does not have parental guidance it can be even more worrisome. These worries do not end when the student has been accepted into college.
The struggle for most of these students typically goes unnoticed as they are seen as an equal in the classroom, but they are faced with many obstacles than most who have had parental guidance throughout their college experience.
Most first-generation students feel immense pressure from their school and home life. Their families may not understand the workload that a college student endures and often times cannot relate to their child’s experience. College already provides enough stress for the student, but going home and not receiving that support can be difficult.
These students are walking through their college education path alone and confused. The average college student worries about FAFSA, parking permits, graduation requirements, internships and job searches, but first-generation students do not know how to traverse these requirements.
First-generation students should be proud of themselves for all of the hard work it took to get to college and the constant work they put in to achieve their goals. These students should not only be recognized this month, but every day for their efforts to pursue a college education.
There are many resources first-generation students can receive at ULV.
The Office of First Generation Students has a peer mentoring program that students can go to if they need help emotionally or academically. Resources are there for students who may be distressed about their place on campus, in the world or in the classroom.
Higher education is vital in society today. The majority of jobs require the minimum of a bachelor’s degree. These students have decided to better their lives and it could not be without the help of the University.