What is a First-Generation College Student?

A widely recognized formal definition of a first-generation student (first-gen, for short) is any student whose parents did not complete a four-year, bachelor's degree. This definition, however, raises several questions such as:

  • Is a student still first-gen if one parent/guardian completed a degree?
  • Does the type of degree – associate’s or bachelor’s – matter?
  • What if a parent or guardian attended college, but did not complete a degree?
  • What if the parent(s) or guardian(s) did not complete a degree, but an older sibling has?

We realize that any set of circumstances, such as those listed above, can cause a student to feel as though they identify as first-generation because their support system lacks knowledge of the college experience. If you are unsure about your first-gen status, or if you think you could benefit from additional support, feel free to stop by the Office of Intercultural Affairs to discuss.

What we are most concerned with is letting you know that we are so excited to have you join our community! As a first-generation student, you bring a unique set of characteristics and skills to our campus. You have demonstrated perseverance and resourcefulness through your hard work in getting to this point and we are eager to see you continue your success as a Skyhawk. This website is here to help ease your transition into college and support your persistence by providing you with information on what to expect once you arrive at Stonehill and the different services on campus.