3 Ways to Help First-Generation College Students Find Their Academic Way

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What exactly defines first-generation college students? 

First off, they do not have the benefit of consulting with a college-educated parent. Secondly, they often come from low-income families that struggle to push them toward higher education. Finally, they have an urgent need for proper academic advising before they can attend college. 

Luckily for them and their families, ScholarPrep Nation takes a more culturally affirming approach that will ultimately lead to first-generation student success. As we all know, the college application process, followed closely by the scholarship search, are both crucial aspects of obtaining a college degree. 

For that, we’ll need to explore the 3 ways to help first-generation students find their way, academically speaking. Read on and find out more!

#1: Understanding the Obstacles That First-Generation College Students Must Overcome

Countless studies have shown that first-gen students have been historically less likely to achieve college success. There is a clear discrepancy between teens whose parents have attended college and those who haven’t. 

Here are the main obstacles that many first-generation students must overcome:

  1. Academic achievement gap
  2. Wealth gap
  3. Lower graduation rates

Let’s explore these three challenges!

  1. Academic Achievement Gap

During high school, first-generation students tend to feel left behind, both socially and academically. Consequently, they face a significant academic achievement gap when compared to peers that have college-educated family members to turn to.

High school counseling comes in as a handy tool that could help high school students prepare for college. However, the prep work should start as early as eighth grade. 

In most cases, the knowledge gaps of first-gen teens are tackled in a reactive, rather than a proactive manner. By doing this, high school counselors further discourage the kids from pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

  1. Wealth Gap 

There are plenty of demographic and economic factors that further reinforce today’s wealth gap. Most first-generation students face overwhelming financial challenges that sometimes lead to dropping out. Sadly, federal student aid and scholarships are both mystified.

Compared to second-generation students whose families are much more affluent, the first-generation college student might end up in severe debt by the time they will hold a bachelor’s degree. That is because they are unaccustomed to financial aid, which makes the college admission process even harder. 

  1. Lower Graduation Rates

It’s no secret that the first-generation college student must fight against socioeconomic adversity. Low graduation rates show that the college experience for first-gen students cannot be characterized as smooth sailing.

According to the EAB, 90% of low-income, first-gen college students do not graduate within six years. Minority students are at the highest risk here, with 41% of Black students being first-gen.

#2: Providing Culturally Affirming College Access Programs for First-Generation Students

We all know that cherry-picking starts during high school. The cultural gaps in the curriculum cause minority students to feel left out and disengaged. In the case of African-American students, the lack of Afrocentric education perpetuates confusion, self-worth issues, and a lack of real-world application. 

When the kids and their families fail to engage, the whole educational system becomes obsolete. Every single first-generation college student needs someone who can explain things clearly and openly. 

The continuous mystification of the scholarship and college application processes needs to end. Perpetuating racial stereotypes will lead to permanent wealth and academic achievement gaps. 

To counteract this, we require more culturally affirming college access programs. With the appropriate guidance, our children will have higher chances of getting into college, graduating, and building remarkable lives for themselves.

#3: ScholarPrep Nation: The Secret Tool of the First-Generation College Graduate

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

The college journey doesn’t have to be a struggle for first-gen and low-income students. Thanks to Afrocentric college access programs such as ScholarPrep Nation, the students are certainly headed for college success.

Becoming more in tune with the concept of Black identity is vital for one’s emotional, spiritual, and mental health. As post-high school opportunities and obstacles start to pile up, it becomes necessary to have a community to lean on whenever the going gets tough.

ScholarPrep Nation takes decisive action and demystifies the college admission process, step-by-step. All students should be eligible to apply to a four-year college and enjoy college life, regardless of obstacles and fears.

Here is what you can expect from the ScholarPrep Nation college access program:

  • Access to a nationwide network of unstoppable young scholars
  • On-demand academic mentorship
  • Expert advice from certified educational consultants
  • Personalized scholarship search  
  • Personalized college essay writing
  • Being paired with a ScholarPrep Navigator (coach)
  • Completion of a personality assessment
  • ACT/SAT prep & tutoring
  • Monthly webinars
  • Accountability meetings
  • An Afrocentric culture 

…and so much more!

Attend College Confidently with ScholarPrep Nation!

All first-gen scholars deserve a high school diploma accompanied by a university degree. Don’t just take our word for it, join the nationwide ScholarPrep Nation network instead!

We are passionate about guiding young scholars of color in the direction of their academic dreams. Join us and lend us a hand as we prepare for college and demystify the academic journey, one first-gen student at a time.

Contact us now! We’re looking forward to having you join our amazing community! 

ScholarPrep Nation

ScholarPrep Nation is a college access program that arms scholars with a wide variety of tools and resources to help them navigate their high school journey and understand all of the post-high school opportunities available to them

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