A number of first-generation college students are under the misimpression that the fact that their parents didn’t attend college will hurt their chances for admission. They think that this reflects poorly on them. They think it makes them seem like someone who is undeserving of being admitted to a highly selective college. These students could not be more wrong. Their embarrassment, their fear is completely unfounded as the fact that they are a first-generation college student will actually significantly help rather than hinder their candidacy.
College admissions counselors want to be inspired. They are people, too. They want to feel like they’ve helped someone, that they’ve made someone’s life better. By admitting the first student to attend college in a family, that college admissions counselor is breaking a glass ceiling for that family. They’re saying to that admitted student that you will be able to do what your parents before you could not do. They are saying that you are deserving of this chance. How cool is that?
Colleges report the data on the number of first-generation college students. This data tells a story about the kinds of students in the incoming class. It speaks of the rich diversity of the class. It says to those reading the numbers that the university is opening opportunities for families that have never before been afforded such opportunities. So if you’re a first-generation college applicant, be proud of where you come from. Be proud that your parents put you in this position. You are likely their proud and joy. So be proud of them back and know that your status as a first-generation college student will be an advantage for you in the highly selective college admissions process.