It’s a common cliche that parents want their kids to walk in their shoes and end up in the same career as they did. But a lot of parents may want more for their kids than this—they want their kids to achieve more, aim higher.
Being a first-generation college student is something to be proud of, but it can also be nerve wracking. There might be high expectations that come with being the first in the family to attend school that add to the normal stress of attending college.
On top of that, there’s the fact that if nobody else in the family has done it yet, there are no family members to give advice, none to provide guidance. But there are ways to thrive as a first-generation college student. It’s a big deal to be the first one in a family to attend college, and getting prepared can help lessen the stress and pressure.
Challenges of Being a First-Generation Student
So, what is a first-generation college student? Being a first-generation college student means the student’s parents either did not earn a college degree or did not go to college at all. Since their parents may not understand much of the college experience, these students are embarking on a somewhat unknown path, which can lead to challenges that other students don’t face.
Lacking this direct source of advice can affect the student’s ability to complete school. It may be more difficult for a first-generation student to adequately prepare for college, both financially and socially. College can be stressful, and without a support system that understands these experiences the student may find it difficult to continue with school.
Some first-generation students may have other demographic characteristics, such as low economic status or low enrollment intensity (generally, being enrolled in a less than full-time course load), that also increase their risk of not finishing college. The usual stressors of college are enough to make it a challenging experience for anybody, but first-gen students may find these factors make it even more difficult.
grants, loans, and scholarships available to eligible students.
The first step to financing your college education is filling out the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This application will determine a student’s eligibility to receive federal aid for college. Federal aid can be both grants or loans. Federal grants usually don’t need to be repaid, but federal loans do.
other eligibility requirements .
If students are not eligible for federal aid, or if the federal aid they receive isn’t enough to cover all their costs, they might also consider applying for scholarships, which are available through different sources such as a student’s school, community organizations, or corporations. Eligibility varies for each one. Some scholarships are need-based, whereas some are merit-based. There are also scholarships available specifically for first-generation college students .
Another option available for financing college is private student loans. The eligibility for private student loans is based on a student’s credit history, income, and other factors. Federal loans come with benefits that are not usually available with private loans, so it’s recommended that students exhaust all federal aid options before considering a private loan.
The terms of private student loans will vary at each financial institution, so students are encouraged to do thorough research before choosing a lender.
Students just beginning their college journey, those on the graduate or professional school path, or parents of a college student may want to consider looking into private student loan options available through SoFi.
Checking to see what rates you might qualify for takes only a few minutes and is done completely online. SoFi’s private student loans offer flexible repayment options and have no fees.
Interested in a private student loan? Apply for one with SoFi today.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.
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