5 Things to Know Before Saying Goodbye


Five Things Families of First-Generation College Students Need to Know

By Dr. James T. Mino

The following are five things families of first-generation students should consider before and after lugging that last footlocker into a dormitory and kissing goodbye:

  1. Remind them that they belong
    Many first-generation students and students from low-income families struggle with imposter syndrome—the inability to internalize their success, or seeing themselves as undeserving of the opportunity given their background.
  2. Eliminate unnecessary distractions
    It is important for families to help students focus on what matters most. Equally important is eliminating, or at least minimizing, unnecessary distractions.
  3. Plan beyond the first-year
    This requires families to be thoughtful about what is required for their student to remain in college long enough to actually graduate.
  4. No lonely breaks. The expense of traveling home can be prohibitive. Yet, the idea of not being around loved-ones during the holidays can be emotionally heavy—especially for students away from home for the first time. Sending a care package with familiar favorites and an encouraging note can go a long way.
  5. Make sure they are connected
    Help students identify support services on campus before they actually need them. The health center and counseling services, tutoring resources, computer support services, club sport programs, relevant student organizations or campus-based service opportunities are all important for getting students connected and supported.