How to Learn More About Colleges as a First-Gen Student
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Malik Farr in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Build a Relationship With Your Admission Counselors
- Take Advantage of Virtual Events Offered by Colleges
- Look at Diversity Statistics
In this article, we will discuss the ways first-generation students can navigate the college process by building relationships with the representatives around them, such as admissions officers or counselors. Speaking to those with a better understanding of the process can help students decide if their prospective university will be a good fit for them and what they can do prior to applying to assist them with the process.
For more information about what to expect when starting university as a first-generation student and the resources that can assist with the transition, check out our post on how you will fit into a college as a first-generation student.
Build a Relationship With Your Admission Counselors
There are many ways for students to build a relationship with their school, but your first point of contact is your counselor. Every student is assigned an admission counselor based on the territory they’re located in or the high school they go to. The admissions counselor is a representative of that college. They love working with students and helping them make the best decision regarding their education.
Admissions counselors are there to talk with you about what their university offers and answer any questions you have. This is why it is so important for you to establish a relationship with your admission counselors. They are there to help you navigate the application process and help you decide if their college is the right one for you.
Your admissions counselor is there to help you determine if their school fits your needs. There are a variety of questions you can ask them about specific programs, location, and college size. The answers to these questions will help you determine what student life is like at that college. If you don’t reach out or establish that relationship with your admission counselor, however, getting this information will be a little harder.
Take Advantage of Virtual Events Offered by Colleges
In the times before the pandemic, all appointments or discussions with admission counselors happened in person. In the past couple of years, however, this has changed and meetings with your admissions counselor now take place virtually. This can take the nerves out of these conversations as they become more casual and can take place in the comfort of your own home.
Additionally, most universities offer virtual tours and student panels you can participate in. This is once again a great way to determine if that school is the right fit for you. By attending these virtual tours and student panels, you will get an understanding of campus life without having to visit in person. If you are currently not taking advantage of these resources, definitely start signing up for them.
Look at Diversity Statistics
If you are wondering how well you will fit in on a specific college campus, look into the school’s diversity statistics from the previous year. Many universities take pride in attracting and supporting first-generation students and will track their diversity statistics. This will give you information on the importance each college gives to ensuring their campus is a diverse place. Knowing this might help you make your decision on whether or not you will feel comfortable at that particular institution.
Another great area to look into is the student centers and programs offered by each university. Many campuses have resources specifically meant to help incoming students that need more help navigating college. These resources can come in the form of counselors, student lead programs, clubs, and campus fairs. If you believe you could benefit from these extra resources, look into universities that offer them for first-generation students.
Some colleges might offer scholarships for first-generation students. Oftentimes you will have to apply for these specific scholarships, but they are designed to help give students additional funds to assist with their unique situation. While financial aid is determined based on your family’s income, colleges understand some difficulties emerge as a first-generation student and will offer these scholarships to help lighten that burden.