By: Jade Lewis

At Eastern Illinois University, there is approximately 3,683 first generation college students attending the University. That means for every two students currently enrolled here at EIU one of them is a first-generation college student.

“I thought being a first-generation college student made me stand out from everyone else, but after hearing the statistic I see that I’m not the only one and it lets me know I have more in common with other students than I thought.”, Janai Cooks, a senior majoring in hospitality management.

Knowing there are other students whose family didn’t have the opportunity to achieve a higher education makes it more comfortable for people to connect with others, create new friendships, and establish a new support system.

“I only know of a few students who are first-generation like myself and we became good friends by planning study tables together once a week and talking to one another since our parents can’t relate.”, Cooks said.

There are other helpful ways first-generation students can achieve their bachelors with resources provided on campus and also on the internet as well, like learning how to fill and submit your FASFA, applying for scholarships or loans, attend internship/job fairs, and stand out from others by being active on and off-campus which can also help you network for future career possibilities.

Being a first generation defines how you want to achieve a higher education to obtain the job you’ve always dreamed about. It is a huge accomplishment and not only will you be proud, your family will too.

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