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Applying to College as a 1st Generation Student

Applying to college can be daunting, especially if you’re the first person in your family to ever apply. First, let’s start with who is considered a 1st generation student: “a student both of whose parents did not complete a bachelor’s degree, or in the case of students who live with and are supported by only one parent, a student whose only such parent did not complete a bachelor’s degree.” If this statement applies to you, holistic review will be in your favor. 

Here are a few tips and steps for applying - 

  1. Start by completing a college list 

  2. A few things to consider are campus size, location, major, extracurriculars, social scene, and cost 

  3. Figure out what type of application they use - common app, coalition, etc. 

  4. Start applying early. Many colleges expect multiple essays and short answer responses.

  5. Be the first person to ask your teacher for a recommendation letter. Most colleges will require two, and if you don’t ask for them as early as possible, your teachers may be unable to write you one. 

  6. Figure out which schools need a recommendation letter. It will state how many you need on both Common App and Coalition. Some don’t require any at all. 

  7. Give your teachers a list of dates you need each recommendation letter by 

  8. Remember to apply for FAFSA once it opens! 

  9. Apply to more scholarships than just the big ones - the smaller ones add up too

  • You can seek guidance from your counselors or get yourself a college advisor. Many programs have free advisors that are there to help you through the entire process. 

  • Bigfuture is a great website to research colleges. It’ll allow you to see all of the available majors and amount of financial need met.

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