First-generation students are college applicants who are the first in their families to attend college. These students often go through the college application process by themselves.
Here are some mistakes first-generation students should avoid:
Going Through the College Application Process Without Any Guidance
You need a mentor. Find someone you trust and look up to. It can be a teacher, guidance counselor or club organizer with experience in the college application process. Ask your mentor any questions you might have, whether it’s about financial-related matters or editing your application essay.
Skipping Optional Application Sections
The Common Application has an additional information section that first-generation students could utilize to write an essay sharing their situation. This essay can demonstrate what college means to you, given your background. If you skip this essay, you could miss an opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants.
Applying to One College
First-generation students often make the mistake of applying to a single college to save on application fees. In order to find the best fit and explore all your options, you need to apply to multiple colleges. Don’t be afraid to request a fee waiver — colleges typically waive application fees for low-income students.
If you have already taken the SAT, you will be eligible to receive four free college application waivers. You can contact a college to see if you qualify for a waiver.
Greenlight Scholarships Application
The Greenlight Scholars Application is a great option for applying to college. It is a free and streamlined application that allows you to apply to multiple colleges at once. This application was designed with first-generation and low-income students in mind. It allows students to share a more complete picture of their academic record, skills and experiences.
The Greenlight Scholars Application levels the playing field for students who are at a disadvantage during the college application process.