What are some common problems first generation college students have when they get to campus?

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Chelsea L. Dixon, M.S., M.A.T, Author. Speaker. CEO.

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I think three of the biggest problems that first generation college students face are isolation, fear and self-doubt. Sometimes it takes first generation students a longer amount of time to “fit in” and not feel alone. This especially holds true on campuses where there aren’t a lot of people who “look” like the first generation student.

Fear is also a common problem that first generation college students experience once they get to campus. Not knowing what to expect can cause the student to feel anxious. They may also feel that they don’t know what types of questions to ask in class or who to go to if they need help.

Self-doubt is probably one of the most difficult problems that will be faced. The questioning of oneself and whether or not the student belongs on a college campus is common. First generation college students often feel the need to have to prove to themselves that they are indeed, “college material”.

Even though these problems may exist, there are a few things that first generation college students can do to make the transition a little easier. They can conduct some research on the college before they get to campus. This will help them to know what’s ahead before they get there. Also, they should attend the freshman/new student orientation if at all possible. This will give them a chance to walk around the campus, ask questions and see where the different buildings are prior to the rest of the student population arriving on campus.

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Marybeth Gasman, Marybeth Gasman is a professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania.

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I think that this essay that I wrote will help inform your understanding of first generation students. I was one myself, by the way. http://www.firstgenerationstudent.com/blog/finding-strength-in-first-generation-status/

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