Will you be the first person in your immediate family to attend college? If so, you are a first-generation college student! There are numerous colleges and private organizations that offer first generation scholarships for students who will be the first in their family to attend college!
Generally, first generation scholarships are open to students whose parents have not earned a four year undergraduate degree. However, specific organizations and colleges may define first generation differently, so always double-check. Keep on reading to learn more about eligibility, award amount, and tips for how to find and win first generation scholarships!
Jump ahead to.
- How to win scholarships as a first generation student
- Resources for first generation college students
- Frequently asked questions about first generation scholarships
- Explore these additional scholarship categories
How to win scholarships as a first generation student
As a first-generation college student, it’s no secret that you’ve probably had to work hard for the opportunities you’ve gotten! You know as well as us that whether you’re applying for small scholarships or worldwide opportunities, every little bit counts, which is why we want to help provide you with as many resources as possible.
Being the first of a generation to go to college means you have a unique story. Being able to write about your story will no doubt be a key part of your academic journey. So, knowing how to write about yourself is going to be an important skill. It may also help you to be familiar with some of the most common scholarship essays. College may not be the first thing you’ve done with your life. Take some time to explore how to build a scholarship resume that can highlight your accomplishments and work history outside of academics. Once you’ve done that you can explore tips about how to write winning scholarships essays and how to start your scholarship application essays.
Resources for first generation college students
First generation college students often face unique barriers in their college application process. Because their parents have not gone through the same trials and tribulations, they may not be able to help as thoroughly as parents who have. First-generation college students should check if they qualify for CollegePoint, a free online resource that matches you with a current college student to counsel you through the entire application process.
Many schools also have specific programs and resource hubs for first-generation college students. For example, the FirstGen program at University of California schools is a great initiative to improve college accessibility aimed towards first generation students. These resources can help with admissions as well as adjusting to campus life when you’re enrolled. Similar programs exist across the country, so make sure to inquire about them at any school you’re considering.
Frequently asked questions about first-generation scholarships
Am I first generation if my siblings went to college?
Some organizations may define first generation as students whose parents and siblings do not have four year degrees. Others may say that you are only first generation if your parents have not received any degree at all (including two year degrees).
However, the most common definition is students whose parents have not completed four year college degrees. If you are interested in learning more about why being a first generation college student matters, check out this post!
Am I first gen if a parent started college, but did not finish?
Yes, the key part of being first generation is that your parents did not complete college. If they took a few classes or semesters, but did not ultimately graduate, you are first generation.
Do you have any application tips for first generation colleges students applying for scholarships?
Yes, we do! Our Ultimate Guide to Finding and Winning Scholarships is just what you’re looking for. This guide will help you also discover and apply for other great scholarships.
First generation college students can also apply for need-based financial aid through the FAFSA and for some colleges, the CSS Profile. This can allow students to access grants like the Pell Grant, federal student loans, state financial aid, and work-study.
Explore these other scholarship categories:
- Top need based scholarships
- Scholarships for immigrants
- Easy scholarships to apply for
- Scholarships for high school seniors
- Top scholarships for women
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