If you're a low-income student whose parents never earned a degree, simply getting to college is hard enough. You probably didn't get much help from your parents, let alone from pricey private counselors or test-prep courses. And once you enroll, you've got a bunch of new stuff to figure out — like what to study or maybe even how to study. You may need to take remedial courses. You may feel work and family pressures. And if you're at a selective college, you may feel left out when your classmates travel abroad or work in unpaid internships.This special report focuses on the challenges facing first-generation students, whose numbers are growing as demographics shift.
Our report also looks at efforts underway on some campuses to help such students. Says a spokeswoman for Hamilton College, which has several such initiatives: "It's not just about access. It's about equalizing the experience once students get to campus."
Saint Mary’s College of California helps out when family issues, racial taunting, and other challenges threaten to derail an education.
A first-generation college student, now in graduate school at Yale, transferred from a community college in California to Amherst.