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By Tori Harrison

There is a lot that goes into college: choosing which one to attend, getting accepted to that university, figuring out how to pay for it, and then knowing what to do when you get there, how to feel, and who to talk to.

The transition from high school to college is a lot to take on, but for some, it can be even harder when their parents haven’t gone through it themselves.

“An estimated 50 percent of the college population is comprised of people whose parents never attended college according to a 2010 study by the Department of Education,” and EIU is no exception. For every 2 Eastern Illinois University students, 1 of them is a first generation student.

That makes up 50% of campus!

“Being a first-generation college student means that you are the first person in your immediate family to attend college,” said Maria Fernandez. “Neither of your parents have a college degree.”

Haleigh Knapp, a junior at EIU, has dealt with being a first-generation student firsthand. Because her parents didn’t go to college themselves, she said that they discouraged her from attending a college too far away.

Knapp is an athlete and had several offers to high jump at the collegiate level, Murray State being her preferred choice. She said her parents were cautious of letting her go there because they wanted her to be able to drive home if she was not happy at school.

“Maybe if they would have gone to college, they may have encouraged me to go out and experience something different,” Knapp said.

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