Preparing for College

Is My Daughter First Generation to College?

Question: My husband has "some" (i.e. very little) college experience, and I have an AA degree. My daughter wants to attend a 4-year college. Would she be considered "first generation"?

The standard definition of a "first-generation" college applicant is a student with no parent who has earned a bachelor's degree before that student reached age 18. So your daughter will be considered "first gen."


Occasionally, however, colleges and scholarship committees may impose their own, different guidelines. (For instance, if a student has a parent with a bachelor degree but does not reside with that parent, he or she may still be viewed as first-generation).

Although your daughter meets the traditional definition of first-generation, she should read all instructions carefully if applying for specific scholarships or programs.

The fact that neither you nor her dad has earned a B.S. or B.A. should work in her favor at admission-decision time. Good luck to all of you as you navigate this maze!

(posted 7/5/2012)