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Diversity in Academe: First-Generation Students

2015-Spring Diversity

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.”