Applying as a First Generation College Student

Get insider knowledge on how to navigate the unique challenges of applying as a first-generation college student.

Date 10/06/2021
Duration 1:03:42

Webinar Transcription

2021-10-06 Applying as a First Generation College Student

[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on applying as a first gen college student. To orient everyone, with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.

Now let’s meet our panelist. Hi everyone. So my name Aliyah Turrentine, and I am a first-generation college student myself, um, through undergrad and grad school. So I have a, an undergraduate degree also known as a bachelor’s degree in, um, Hispanic linguistics and psychology from the University of North Carolina. So go Tarheels class of 2016.

Um, and then I also have a master of education in educational leadership with a concentration in higher ed degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte we’re at just graduated may of 2021. And with that, I obtained a certification in learning [00:01:00] design and technology. So for those of you that don’t know with any of that means basically I have a degree where I’m able to study the Spanish language and how this infrastructure is.

Um, I know a little bit of, uh, Portuguese and a little bit of classical Latin too with that. Um, so it came in pretty handy and psychology, you know, why we think the way that we do, um, and study of the brain and then for the learning design and technology certification, um, basically training, you know, and curriculum development or, and you all’s terms, you went black, uh, when the pandemic hit, teachers said, okay, everybody we’re on canvas or here’s some YouTube videos teaching you how to do X, Y, and Z.

Um, I’m basically the person on the backend. That’s helping to create that. So that way you kind of have an idea of what that means. Okay. So we’re going to do a quick pause. So the first question asking, uh, where are you in the application process? [00:02:00] Haven’t started, I’m researching schools, I’m working on my essays.

I’m getting my application materials together, or if you’re really lucky, I’m almost done. What was it like when you first got to college? Um, so first of all, when I first got to college, I did not want to stay on campus. Um, I was a homebody and, uh, was raised by a single parent. And so I lived at home with my mom and didn’t want to leave my mom.

I was scared, you know, UNC chapel hill was huge. And I felt like I wouldn’t know where my classes were or anything like that. But, um, I saved my first night. I literally packed a bundle of sheets and a pillowcase and an outfit for bedtime and an outfit for the next day. And I was ready to leave, but I, a weight has stayed during the week of welcome and my roommates and I, uh, went to the week of welcome events and I stayed and my mom, I don’t think her for me for like the first month [00:03:00] I didn’t go home.

And, uh, I loved it enough robbed and I stayed, you know, and I thought it was one of the best decisions that. I have that same feeling of homesickness coming up here to New York. Oh my goodness. So the results are, um, 17% of the students haven’t started the applications. 44% are researching schools. 19% are working on their essays.

Another 19% are getting their application materials together. And 2% of students are almost done. So lucky all. Yeah. That’s awesome. Um, getting your application materials together, I hope that that’s with a CollegeAdvisor to be able to help you all with this process or with your counselors school, um, lean on your resources.

They are so important to have, um, So the application process for first-generation students can vary from student to student, you know, and part of that is because many first-generation students don’t know that [00:04:00] they’re first gen. So with that in mind, you know, we think about the question of, well, what is first gen?

How was it defined? And so in higher ed first-generation college student is a student, um, who has applied to college where, um, neither parents. And by parents, um, that is your biological birth mother and birth father, um, do not have, or have yet to obtain a four year degree. So that means that you could be applying to college right now, and maybe your mother or your father, um, is currently obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but they don’t have it yet.

You’re still considered a first-generation college student. Maybe that means that your parents has obtained a degree in, um, a university or a college outside of the United States. You’d still be classified as a first-generation college student, just to clarify some of that. Um, and then, you know, the next thing that comes with that is, okay, well, I’m a first gen, so what do I do [00:05:00] now?

Right. So most students don’t know where to begin. Um, you’re like, all right, I want to go to college. But I don’t know what to do until you go to your counselor. And so sometimes your counselor’s office is so packed and you’re like, I’m never going to be able to meet with my counselor, or you feel like your counselor isn’t able to attend to the needs that you have, because there’s usually about 200 plus students to one counselor.

If not more, depending on how many counselors you will have in your high school. And so that’s a lot. And so it comes with the understanding that a lot of the legwork is left to you and your family. If your parents are able to assist you. Um, and so that means that your process may look different. Whereas one student has a CollegeAdvisor or a counselor that’s really able to pump up all of that time, that it requires to help you with the entire process, um, or a parent that’s able to be there and navigate the process with you learning and doing research.

Are you having to be independent? Um, and then for other [00:06:00] students, you know, the college, um, the college experience in terms of the process is different because you have a lack of college access. Maybe you’ve never toured a college. Maybe you’ve never received a piece of mail or maybe you have received a piece of mail and that’s the only college or university that you’ve ever heard of.

Right. Um, and then there’s a lack of knowledge of opportunities that colleges have to offer. There are many times where I’m meeting with a student and they’re like, oh, I took some college courses through my, um, through my high school. And I’m able to graduate with a certification in this, but I want to go and do this other thing.

Well, that’s great that you have that certification, but how can you utilize those classes and transfer those over to be able to get to your injury or your end goal? Right. Um, and so the process just really varies based on that support that you’re going to be able to have at home. Um, the support that you’ll have within your school.

And then some of you may not even be living with a biological mother or a biological father. You may be living with a [00:07:00] grandparent, a family friend on your own, you know, different state law. Some of you are maybe bouncing cows from couch and we’ll get a little bit into that later, um, in terms of how that’s classified when you’re applying as a first gen student, but everybody’s situation is going to be unique and it’s going to differ and it’s going to also your college application process, but knowing that that’s your process and yours alone, and it’s very unique, it’s going to be very important when it comes time to telling your story and your essays,

oh, you can click through the slides. So, um, it can be different, uh, for a first a college student, because when we’re talking about FASFA, um, FASFA is the, um, free application for federal student aid. And many times students will realize that when they’re completing this, that, um, sometimes they don’t have a social [00:08:00] security.

And it is an ITA number that they’re referring to as a social security number or that they never knew that they didn’t have a social security number. Sometimes when they’re applying, they, um, realize that they don’t live with a biological parent. So sometimes different family things come out. Um, Sometimes you don’t realize that you are classified as what they call McKinney-Vento, meaning that you, um, are being cared for by someone else other than your biological parent.

Um, so like if, say your, Grant’s say you moved in with your grandparent, but you all didn’t go through the court system or anything, and you’re staying with them because they’re helping take care of you. You may be classified as in McKinney, Vento students, and need to go and achieve and go and receive additional paperwork.

Um, unaccompanied youth might be like, maybe you’re bouncing around on a friend’s couch for a little bit, because you had an altercation happen at home that made you uncomfortable or, or something like that. Or maybe you got kicked out, um, for a [00:09:00] short period of time. So when you are classified as McKinney, Vento, or unaccompanied youth, you need to go and speak with a school social worker.

And I know that that immediately was like, oh my God, they’re going to open up a DSS case on my family. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to college. Um, so that doesn’t necessarily take place. So, um, yours, your school, social worker only knows as much as you share. So if you say, Hey, you know, I’m applying to college and, um, I’ve been living with my grandpa, my grandmother for some time.

And, um, they are going to require me to have some additional paperwork. It’s good for your school social worker to chat with you, to get you that additional paperwork. Because even though the FASFA may not ask for it initially, um, your FAFSA will most likely get audited when you submit it to the different schools and United.

Um, and then sometimes your family may not have how taxes. And so having to scurry to do that, if you know, in advance, Hey, I’m going to apply to college. I [00:10:00] need to fill out the FAFSA. You can go ahead and prep your guardian, um, to complete that paperwork, right? Um, or if maybe you didn’t need to file taxes.

I know with this pandemic, a lot of, um, a lot of people’s parents got laid off or they decided to wa or they were disabled or whatever reason, you know, Y while your parent isn’t working, you may have to contact the IRS for, um, them to send something in the mail stating that you didn’t file taxes on the previous year to show proof that taxes had not been found and were not required because your parent did not work.

Okay. Um, motivation is also a really key factor in the entire process, because if you don’t have motivation around you in some kind of safe space that you have, it can be really hard. You know, if you’re trying to navigate this all by yourself and nobody is able to motivate you throughout this entire process.

So, um, some students also [00:11:00] have to work while they’re in high school to help tend to familiar needs. So if you’re having to work while you’re in school, also take rigorous courses in order to try to be in the top 10% or the top 20% of your school class, or just to be somewhere where you have a good GPA so that you are eligible to attend a college or a university.

And be competitive in the application process. Um, you know, it’s hard because you’re also having to take care of your family. Um, and so we’ll talk a little bit later about, um, how that goes into effect when you are telling your story and applying, um, and, and how you will stand out amongst other students that maybe don’t have to work and just have all the time in the world to join different clubs and organizations and do summer programs and things like that.

Um, the other thing is. Lack of exposure and knowledge about college from your family can also affect the way that you go about applying and be different for you. So if you’re first gen, you know, [00:12:00] maybe your parent has a little bit of knowledge because they’ve heard different things where they’ve started the process themselves.

But again, you’re classified as first gen because they don’t have a four-year degree yet. Or they’ve never, you know, had to do the process, don’t know much about it. And so you all need an additional resource to come in and assist you. Um, which is totally fine. So I just want to give you a little bit of that background information.

I know your heads are probably swarming a little bit with all of that. You’re like, whoa, that’s a lot. And it’s okay because everything kind of goes at its own pace. It’s not like everything just comes rushing at you all at once. You get your answers and you get your aunt and you get your questions answered, um, little by little and you’re able to work it out.

But I would say the first step in the process would just be, you know, maybe going to your counselor and saying, Hey, you know, I’m interested in navigating the college process. Um, can you help me or pinpoint me to some, uh, resource and that’s how you can really get started if you are needing that support within your school.[00:13:00]

So, um, it can also differ because maybe your, this is a common one. Um, everybody’s family is like, my baby’s going to be ed doctor. Right. And you’re like, okay, well I’m a mom. Or my dad wants me to be a doctor or my grandparent wants me to be a doctor. So I have to be a doctor because I really want to achieve this dream that they have set for me.

Like this is the expectation in my family. Um, and so that can be hard because you are unaware of what you want to pursue in college because you’re pursuing the dreams of someone else or, um, You’re doing that because you’re trying to make them happy or to meet the expectations that they have for you.

And so that really hinders you because you’re not exploring options that make you happy and that you want to be doing in the long-term for your career. I’m not saying that everybody can’t be a doctor, but if you don’t want to go [00:14:00] and be a doctor, you should not be obligated to go and do that to meet the expectations that someone else has for you.

Especially if they don’t know, you know, how far you should be going in a certain field, maybe you don’t need a doctoral degree in order to go and do what it is that you want to do. Um, and then that support is definitely going to look and feel different for every student, because you may not be guided in the process by someone that’s well-versed in admissions, in the college application process, like a CollegeAdvisor is, um, so if you are leaning on.

They’re probably navigating this process with you, or maybe they’re a student in college and they don’t know all the ins and outs in your situation and what you need to do, um, at different points or maybe your parent applied for college a long time ago, but there are lots of new questions on applications that may not be clear, like having that additional resource is so important, um, when you’re navigating this process.

So we’re going to do [00:15:00] another quick pause. So what grade will you be entering this fall? Um, is there anything else you’d like to talk about on your first gen experience? Yeah, so, um, I attended, well, okay, so I’ll back up when it came to housing. I was initially, um, set to live. And I want to say cob where I would have had like people sleeping in the same room as me and I ended up applying to what they call a live and learning community.

And within that live and learning community, it was called transfer United. And because I was a transfer student into the university, um, and a lot of those transfer students were also first gen students. So it was really cool because we were navigating campus and college together. We were doing in college terms.

It’s like doing life together in college. Um, so in that live and learning community, I got to live in the apartments now, housing versus, uh, the housing where there’s another student that’s [00:16:00] sleeping, like literally, um, eyeball length away from you, if that’s even a thing. And, um, I really enjoyed it because it allowed me to have my privacy, but also to interact to, and one of my college roommates.

Uh, ended up being one of my best friends. We still communicate. I talked to her yesterday. Um, and then the other two young ladies have both gotten married at this point. One of them, um, I attended their wedding last, uh, last night, Latin that last week, but last month, which was beautiful to be able to see people kind of grow up and stuff.

That sounds great. I did not like living in the dorms either. I had to get out, but, um, so we have no eighth or ninth graders. That’s not surprising. We have 5% of 10th graders, uh, 24% 11th graders, 61% 12th graders. So this is a good place and 4% of, um, 11% of, um, others. Don’t assuming that’s parents. Um, so yeah, or transfer [00:17:00] students.

That’s great.

Um, so the application timeline. So the way that, um, CollegeAdvisor has a set and I, uh, have a second monitor behind me, just because I want to be able to see it bigger is that you begin the college application process your junior year, right? So January through may, you are requesting teacher recommendation letters.

Maybe you are taking your first standardized test. So the sat or the act, um, and you’re just kind of getting a feel for what’s to come your senior year. Uh, then June through August, you’re creating, um, your accounts for all the necessary, uh, platforms that you need. I know that if you’re a North Carolina student, you will have to do that.

What they call the RDS, which is the residency determination status application, um, the state ruled it and rolled it out, um, to, uh, alleviate some of the pressure on colleges for how they classify [00:18:00] students in state or federal. Different states, um, operated their own way. But I know that for North Carolina, because I’m in North Carolina and, um, senior year, you know, you’re sending those test scores, then maybe you have to retest, um, because you want to be super scored.

You are, um, checking on those recommendation letters as well. You’re doing the college application. You’re doing your college essay. Like it’s so much coming at you kind of fast paced my seniors that 23%. No, that 61% of people that are out here that’s y’all right now. Right? You like, whew, this is a train.

Um, and it won’t stop. Then January through February, you know, you’re getting those decisions or maybe you’re retesting again, because maybe you’re on a wait list and they’re waiting on an additional score from you to be able to give you that determination. Um, you are having to decide what school you want to navigating the housing process.

Um, submitting your intent to enroll all that good stuff, uh, [00:19:00] or maybe explain more major options. Um, maybe you decided to change your major because you’ve done some internships. There’s some shadow work and stuff. Uh, and that’s totally normal. So. Um, for first gen. So, um, you’re most likely not following this linear path.

Okay. Um, and it’s because you have a lack of knowledge for when the process begins. You know, it’s not common that someone’s like, all right, it’s junior year, we’re going to go ahead and start talking about college and look at some college essays and stuff like that, maybe in your English class, but maybe not in a lot of those other classes or unless you have like a teacher or a program within your school where they’re, uh, working on college readiness and implementing that in the curriculum that is being rolled out to students.

Typically first gen students began the process after school has started their senior year and college has started to become the buzzword. So maybe you were like, I dunno what I want to do in life. And then August, September, October, your friends are like, yeah, sorry, I can’t hang out with you. I got to go on, apply to [00:20:00] NYU this weekend, or I’m going to go tour this school.

My parents would fly me out. Um, or we’re driving up to, um, I don’t know, Charlotte so that we can go look at UNC DC. And then we have to go look at USC, Asheville, all those different things, you know, college became, becomes, uh, the buzz around your class, right? Um, or the community you all we’ll do a tour to the community college or the community college we’ll come to you and talk to you or different schools will come in during your lunch period or during some of your classes that the teachers have invited them to come in and they’ll, um, like market their school based.

And so, um, it becomes a, well, who do I talk to, to navigate the process? Right. So oftentimes first gen students will just lean on a teacher or a counselor or a friend that they know we’re doing it. And their friends, family, if they know maybe somebody that has gone to college, they’ll say, Hey, you know, like I want to go and do it.

Can you help me? Um, Hm. You know, believe it or not. A lot of first gen students do [00:21:00] end up going to community college because it’s local, you know, that fear of getting away and leaving your community, leaving your home, or needing to continue to work, to take care of your family. Some students end up, um, having babies, you know, early on whether they’re in high school or in that first year of college.

And they’re like, well, I can only go to community college and I don’t want you all to look at community college. It’s just that crutch. Um, or the, I have to go there because of X, Y, and Z. Um, but look at community college where like the prices of the courses, you know, so maybe if you’re home for the summer, you’ll go and take a course so that you can get ahead and have that course transfer in.

So maybe, you know, you have one more math that you need to take because you didn’t get to the second level of math. Your senior year. So if you’re in like cow AB and you need like how BC or something like that, you might go and take that pass. Or if you didn’t get to the AP stat, you may go and take a statistics class at the community college that summer.

Um, because the cost is significantly reduced in. If you attend the [00:22:00] college or a university and take that course, then it will transfer in and it won’t affect your GPA. Um, it’ll just transfer into those credits. So that’s a little bit about that timeline. I recommend that if you have not started the process that you start the process today, because not only are you behind on looking at what schools you want to apply to and looking at when those deadlines are for early action, uh, the FASFA application is also a.

Open. And for some people, you know, they look at the fast when they’re like, oh, it’s a monster, but I’ll tell you if the entire process fast, those my favorite. And it’s because I think that that passes easy. Um, because I have worked with so many different families that when those hard questions come up and how we go about this and that, you know, like I’ve jumped through all these different hoops that I’m at the finish line.

And I’m like, yeah, let me bring you up over here. I’ll give you the easier walk. Right. Um, you can walk with me, we’ll get to the finish line together. You don’t have to jump through all those hurdles and hoops, uh, because you have somebody that’s, well-versed in the.[00:23:00]

Um, so you can find information about starting the process by of course, requesting to work with me. Um, here is my adviser link. Um, and I think that I can post this in the chat for you all, if you all want to go ahead and open that up and bookmark it to return to at a later time. Um, we’ll see, Missy’s just going to post a message in here.

And boom, there it is. I hope that you all can click that. And then some of the other sites, you can just go to our main website on and work with any advisor. Um, and then you can go to first and and look at their residence, uh, their resources. You can go to first, um, and look at their resource that they have.

You can look at public service degrees that org and see first-generation college students and the resources that they have. And these were just some that I, um, found to go with this [00:24:00] presentation that I’m giving to you all today, but there are so many out there that there’s when you blink, there’s going to be something in your face that you can see when you type in Google.

Okay. Um, so I hope that those are beneficial for you all. And, um, I hope that I’ll be able to see that you all have talked to the match team and that you all want to work with Ms. T on this. So you can, um, find some different support systems about, so about a particular school. So it’s going to vary. So oftentimes you can find, um, support, like when you’re on campus, like you’ve already got an accepted.

Whoo ha. All right, I’m here. Now what we could welcome. I recommend every student attend week of welcome and every week of welcome is going to differ from student from school to school. So my freshman year, week of welcome, they blocked off an [00:25:00] entire a road in chapel hill and they had different tents up there with lots of free stuff.

Oh my God. Somebody should have told me to just come with an empty book bag for all the free gear that I got. So I got my first college. T-shirts my first pencils, pins, laptop bags, all kinds of stuff. Then the second year that I went to a week ago, I remember I took a book bag and ended up going me and my best friend took our book bags, filled them up with stuff from the different tents and then went and dumped them in the vehicle in our other bags.

And they took our book bags again to go and get all the other stuff. So lots and lots of free stuff. There’s free food. Um, there are different raffles and things. I remember getting some t-shirts. I remember getting some thank you cards, some really nice UNC, uh, notebooks and things like that. So I highly recommend that you all go to the week of welcome, um, at.

The advising offices also have a ton of resources. So I know for UNC chapel hill steel building was like my best friend. That’s where I hung out the most. Um, [00:26:00] on the first I think the ground floor and the first floor, because the third floor was like escalated issues. So like your transfer credits and meeting with different deans and things like that.

Um, but advising offices are able to connect you with the resources that you need around campus. Somebody knows something, always the students center also has a lot of resources and that’s where you can meet some of the other students and stuff and get to network and make some other friends, the office of diversity, equity and engagement.

Um, so a lot of times you will see on different campuses that there are different affinity, uh, buildings or offices, or, um, like centers or corners that you can go to. So. Um, maybe, um, you identify in the LGBTQ plus community. And so you’re looking for, I think, uh, some campuses call it like the purple center or something for you to be able to get resources, um, from people that identify or that are allies of that, um, that affinity group.

[00:27:00] And, um, you can make some other friends, or maybe you are pondering about if you’re a member of the LGBTQ plus community and you want to just network with other people and be in a different space or a different Headspace where people can understand how you identify. Um, maybe you’re looking for the, um, like black student union or something like that.

You know, these different resources can help pinpoint where you can find these different groups on. And then my all-time favorite is cap. So counseling is psychological services. I recommend that in your first year on campus, that you go and you set up an appointment with caps. So for those of you who may, um, maybe on like a parent’s insurance or something, I would just inquire about how mental health is broken down in terms of what’s covered.

And what’s not. But if you go with the student insurance, um, usually it will cover a certain number of sessions. So I know at UNC chapel hill, it covered the first eight sessions that you have. And so [00:28:00] going there and talking to bike, a licensed clinical social worker about maybe you’re stressed, or maybe there’s some stuff going on at home.

And since you’re away, you can’t really be there. And you’re just trying to figure out how to juggle all of it. Mental health is so important when you’re on campus. Everybody needs it. Um, At some point, you know, to be able to figure out some different things, to get connected with some more resources.

Right. And so I recommend that you take a look at this, maybe take a screenshot of this screen so that you’ll have these things available. And, um, you can navigate, you know, when you’re doing, uh, your college research for the percentage of you that answered earlier in the poll about how you’re still researching different schools, um, and which ones she wants to go to look at the support system that they have, you know, what are the resources made available to you?

Let that be one of the determining factors for if you’ll attend a school or not. Do they have support for you? Do they have affinity groups that you feel like you identify with and what to go and find their offices or their buildings? Is there momentum? You know, [00:29:00] how is their diversity? How’s their equity, how’s their inclusion.

Maybe you have a disability. What does their disability services look like? You know, what are people saying about it in terms of how they cater to different people’s needs? Right? Um, so I’d definitely recommend screenshot and take a picture of it, write it down, however you needed, make sure that you have this information.

Um, we’d already touched base on the FASFA in terms of it being a free application for federal student aid. And the application is used to determine your financial aid eligibility. And so when you and your family complete this, they will give you what they call the, um, the cost of attendance. So how much they believe should be deducted from your total, uh, student financial package, because your parent can pay X amount of dollars towards it each year.

So, um, sometimes you’ll see that your expected family contribution the EFC. Um, you’ll see that the EFC may be like at a zero with an asterisk. If it has a [00:30:00] zero and an asterick nine times out of 10, you’re going to be audited in some way. If the EFC just has a zero, and that means that they plan to give you a financial aid package that should, um, make up the total cost that they think will, uh, it will require for you to attend their school.

The FAFSA is also use, um, for some scholarships to verify that you have just simply completed the application. Like you took the initiative to go and putting your information to try to get some grants and scholarships through the school. Or sometimes it is used to see how you may qualify or fit in the eligibility requirements that the financial aid offices get for need based aid.

Um, and sometimes they’ll have you complete the FAFSA and then you’ll have to go and complete another financial application. Uh, that’s tailored towards that particular school so that you can verify your family income more in depth, um, and the financial need that you have.

So, [00:31:00] um, there’s a question that will come up in terms of what is a need blind versus a need aware, and they are not the same. So if you see in the picture. Um, there are, there’s a need blind admissions, meaning that the college does not look at your financial need in terms of determining if you will gain admission on their campus.

And then there is need aware at mission where they do look at your financial need and may include that as a factor when they’re determining, if you, um, would be admitted onto their campus. Okay. However, you should apply for need blind and need aware. Okay. Um, I would apply. I would, I would not say like, oh, I’m only going to apply to need blind schools because my parents make too much money.

You never know what they may end up offering you. Okay. Like you may just be the and they want to give you all of this money because you worry about them back home. Um, [00:32:00] and. There is some additional information that you can get from prep scholar. If you go there and just type in Nita where colleges, a lot of times, the language will be funky.

So you’re not going to go to a college website and it’s just going to immediately say, uh, we are a need-blind institution. No, that’s just way too easy or where, especially not Anita wherein a admissions process. You know, you’re going to have to look in the fine print and see how they’ve worded things.

To be able to know if they are need bladder, need aware. Cause it’s not always going to be spelled out.

Um, so you can learn more about, uh, financial aid and scholarship options, um, that are specific to a certain school by navigating the school’s financial aid, web, uh, financial aid, webpage and scholarships. Um, so when you go to the website, you’ll see all the information about financial aid and the deadlines and things like that.

But then you’ll also see, um, like [00:33:00] scholarships sub listed, or maybe it’ll be the name of a prestigious scholarship that they have. And you can go and read additional information. A question that I received this week from a client of mine was, um, in terms of like honors college and scholarships for that.

So honors college could either be, uh, depending on the school, they may automatically consider candidates for the honors college. And then send you an email saying that you got in to the honors college or offering you the college honors college. And missions, or they will have a separate application that you will have to go in and apply for.

So don’t assume when it comes to any school, don’t assume like include that as one of the fields on your Excel spreadsheet when you are doing your research for colleges and universities. Okay. And then, um, not all scholarships are listed on the school website. Sometimes, um, your state has an entire scholarships, a resource or your school has a scholarship resource.

When I was an in-person advisor, we actually had a scholarship coordinator that [00:34:00] went onto the web and found different scholarships. And then in the spring time, a lot of local scholarships were made available to students to apply to. So just make sure that you are, um, researching those within the schools that you’re applying to, but also externally.

And so you can Google scholarships with people that have glasses scholarships with people that have contacts, Misty wears contacts and glasses. So that was, would be one of the first scholarships that I went to go look for, identify as a person of color. I may be seeing if there are some scholarships for people of color, particularly African-American.

Um, maybe you are a part of an indigenous group. So you may be looking for scholarships if you’re a Lumbee native American, um, or you’re Cherokee native American, or, um, your Blackfoot native American, you know, there are different scholarships for different, um, different things that you may be in terms of how you identify or that may be going on in your life.

So maybe you’re raised by single parent. So scholarships were single parents. Maybe you are a parent scholarships for [00:35:00] parents. Um, so just type in those things and you should be able to see and filter through those and create a list with some deadlines and what the scholarship is, and as well as the link.

Okay. So we’re going to do our last poll. So, uh, do you worry about fitting in at the college you’ll attend? Uh, so all of the time, some of the time never, um, that’s fantastic. Um, oh, we’re coming up on, um, time, not close to, but we have, um, 25 minutes left in the presentation. Um, so I see a quick question in here.

Uh, that’s inquiring about a savings accounts for a family. So on the fast way, they will generally ask the question in terms of the assets and money that exists in the checking and the savings [00:36:00] account. Um, and it is based on the user’s discretion, what they put in there. Um, to my knowledge, I have not seen where, um, the department of education has.

Checked people’s checking and savings accounts. Um, and maybe by the time that you enroll in school, the financial situation may differ. And so that amount will alter or change in some way. So I hope that that is helpful in answering that question in terms of how you all choose to navigate that. So it’s looking like we have 34% of students saying that they were all the time, 51% say some of the time and 14% say never.

Hmm. Interesting.

So for those of you that worry about fitting in at school, um, when you go to college as a first gen, uh, many times first [00:37:00] gen students, uh, feel imposter syndrome. And so I found this graphic online that explains it completely. And, um, in this particular scenario is in regards to work because we go to college so that we can learn the information so that we can either build our own businesses or we can go and work for someone else’s business or idea.

Right. Um, so in this particular instance, in terms of employee of the month, maybe you’re afraid of feeling out as a fraud by attending college. Nobody else did. And so maybe you’re like, I’m going to go to college and then everybody else back home who didn’t go to college is like, man, you just trying to get outta here.

Like you don’t care about us data, dah, dah, dah, you know, you have to kind of block those things out. You’re going to college to go and set your future up. However you see fit just like they had their options. Okay. I’m gonna just tell you that. Flat out, you know, everybody has an option and this is the one that you have chosen to do for you.

Um, and what will work for you and your future. Okay. Um, sometimes we have this sense of feeling [00:38:00] unworthy of success because we have just battled so much as a first gen and navigating this entire process that we just don’t feel as worthy as other people that are on campus. You know, we start to second guess ourselves and the decisions that we’re making, uh, we started dismissing positive feedback.

I’ll tell you a little mini stories. Um, when I obtained my master’s degree, the entire time that I was obtaining my master’s degree, I did not share my grades. Oftentimes you’ll see, on social media, how students would share their grades, uh, whether they did extremely well or they got like their first B or something like that, or see, um, and give like a testimony of some sort, well, adding, share my grades because for the first time in my life, I had a peer 4.0 GPA while I was in grad school, working full time and living between three different places, uh, while I was how shopping.

So, um, when I would share, like, if I shared, it was like with my mom and my sister and my boyfriend, or [00:39:00] just like my immediate, immediate family, and I didn’t want to post it anywhere. Like, you know, you’re first gen and you tell your parents that you have a 4.0 GPA and your parent wants to go and be like, that’s my baby.

Right. And they’re like, I didn’t want to jinx it. I didn’t want to end up doing anything that might get in the way of my 4.0 GPA ended up, ended up in like a 3.8 or something like that, because maybe I got my first B, um, but also just dismissing the fact that I was doing really well, because I was just in grind mode.

You know, I was just trying to do what I can. At the time. Um, the other thing that you may deal with is distrusting of others. You know, you grow up where you’ve had to be so independent that when it comes time to you going to this big college or university or small college or university, and not really knowing anyone, you don’t have trust for those around you, um, it’s hard for you to trust because maybe you’ve had your heart broken from relatives or significant others, or you just felt [00:40:00] like your friends have been backstabbing you or in some sor blaming accomplishments on lucky.

Like, oh, I got lucky, woo. Like luck was on my side. Or, you know, people say good luck or that’s the block. Um, versus just saying like, I achieved this, I current, as I did this, I am deserving. I am worthy those types of things. And then maybe you’re over-preparing you want to do so well, because everybody back home is cheering you on because they haven’t navigated this process or gone this far in the process that you spend so many nights just studying that you don’t really enjoy some of the other aspects of college.

So, um, Ms. T of course has some words of wisdom and some advice to always give to you all. And in terms of combating imposter syndrome in the application process, as well as when you get on campus, be your authentic, true self in your application, you know, like don’t try to fabricate and be this other person that you’re not like poor, poor, poor, you poor who you are on your essays.[00:41:00]

Okay. Um, and know that you, if you weren’t meant to be applying or onto campus, then you wouldn’t be at all. You know, like everything has a divine purpose. Everybody has a divine purpose and a journey, and you’re going to get there. It doesn’t matter what avenue you choose to take. You’re going to get. Um, trusting yourself knowledge and your capabilities know that there is a, there are a plethora of supporters around the nation sharing you want, especially other versions like myself.

Um, tell your story in the essays on the application. Um, tell your story. Once you get to campus, get engaged and get involved, leave an impact and implement changes for the next generation. After you all in all, find your voice, find your space, find your comfort and find you. College is all about growing and maturing and finding who you are and who you’re destined to be and what you want to do and how you will be impactful.

And so, yes, you need to do your studies and do well, um, and try your best. But there’s other aspects to [00:42:00] college, like building a long lasting friendships, networking, getting involved into some clubs and organizations and taking a stance. I’ll tell you my time at UNC chapel hill. There were, um, several events that were going on in terms of, um, things that were just political and going on in the news.

And I chose to join the, um, black student movement and we took a stance on a lot of things. Some buildings got changed. Um, some statues got removed, um, and relocated somewhere else. You know, it was about us having a voice and standing up for what we felt was right. That helped make that impact so that when other students are coming on, they’re not greeted with some of the same things that we felt were offensive.

So some additional resources that you can find when you’re on campus, um, are some cool study areas. Like I said, clubs and [00:43:00] organizations. Meeting your campus meetings, your advisor on campus, going to different events or walking by different areas for free stuff, studying abroad, getting involved in your community, uh, going to counseling and psychological services, maybe meeting the Dean of the school that you, uh, hope to be a part of.

So if you’re wanting to study journalism, you may go and meet the, the Dean of the J school. When I was an undergrad, I lived in dye hall, which was the, um, language builders building. And so I would go and study and there I was studying Spanish and also taking up Portuguese, but oftentimes I would hear Russian or Italian, um, in that room too.

And I was able to just study right through it. Um, if you are interested in going to UNC chapel hill, these are some of the buildings that, um, I have listed here, like the Phillips building. Yes. I went and sat in a Phillips building closet. I couldn’t tell you how I got there to this day, but it had a table in there and some lights and [00:44:00] no windows.

And I was able to just really study and I used to meet, uh, one of my friends, one of my other best friends. She and I, she actually found the location and we would just go in there and study really hard. And. Um, and you know, caps, you can also use capsules like, um, where you go for, um, counseling and psychological services.

That’s what cap stands for by the way. Um, but maybe you go there to, you know, maybe you’re studying outside of the building before you muster up the courage to go in and go and receive any kind of help or talk through any situations that you’re going, uh, that was going on with you.

Um, in terms of my college journey, I skipped the flood grade and graduated my 11th grade year of high school. Um, I was going to attend a private university just on the mere basis that it was beautiful and I made the decision pretty late in the year. So I’ll have housing happen, take it up, even though they [00:45:00] had accepted me.

So I decided to go to my local community college. I did my first semester there and absolutely loved it because it was small. And I was also, you know, graduating early. So I was fairly young, a lot of the things that students were able to do and exposed on cop, uh, on campus had I attended in the correct, um, year.

So if I enrolled freshman year into a university, I probably would have been able to do those things because I wasn’t, uh, I wasn’t 18 years old or 21 years old or anything like that. Um, and so I went there and I had an advisor and I would never forget my advisor telling me that, uh, the fact that I had only applied to UNC chapel hill, I needed to go and look up some other schools because I was most likely not going to get in because I didn’t have that 4.0 plus GPA.

Um, even from attending the, um, The community college. And that ended up being the only school that I applied to. I do not recommend by the way, only applied to one school, but Apple’s first gen I didn’t know. So I had only applied there and, um, I ended up getting in. I remember it was, [00:46:00] uh, 5:42 AM in the morning that I got in and I went and woke up my mom crying and she thought that something was wrong.

One, because it was five something in the morning. And two, I was crying. So all she saw was the snotty nose kid, uh, with tears running down her face. And it was because I had gotten into a school that my family had worked at, but never attended. And so I was fulfilling a dream that they hadn’t, um, done in their own time.

So I stayed on campus for that year that I mentioned earlier in, uh, the presentation. And while I was living campus, I worked three jobs. So, um, I worked part-time in retail. I, um, was a, an office assistant that turned into a first, uh, intern. They did their first cohort for the retention department and I need, um, on the side to be able to make sure that I had extra money to go and do fun stuff or to help pay my bills.

Because for the first time I had my own apartment, that was a whole story within itself. And it was awesome, highly [00:47:00] recommend. Um, but I do not recommend bills. And then, you know, I had two internships. So the written, the internship with the retention department, I’m still in communication with that entire subgroup of interns.

And then I created an internship based off of a research based project that I had in one of my courses. I was a community outreach coordinator and that internship is still thriving and I’m still in communication with my mentors from college. So all in all, I definitely recommend college. I definitely recommend that you join the bandwagon of applying and, um, I definitely recommend, you know, telling your story and sharing who you are as an independent, as a, as a person.

My favorite quote is actually by Marianne Williamson. And so I just took this small snippet because I think the later portion of it goes into, um, some religious affiliation. So if you’re not religious, you know, maybe it doesn’t apply to you, but this is my favorite. It says our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are [00:48:00] powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous, actually, who are you not to be? I was exposed to this. Um, when I was in middle school, I think it was my seventh grade year in middle school.

I had an avid teacher. Avid stands for advancement via individual determination. It’s a college prep course and program that some school districts have, but, uh, his name was Mr Hennessy and he had this on the back of the door and it has stuck with me that long.

Okay, so that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through your questions. You submitted in the Q and a tab and, um, and read them aloud before our panelist gives you an answer, uh, as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just make sure that you join the [00:49:00] webinar through the link that was sent to your email and not from a webinar landing page.

If you joined from the webinar landing page, you don’t get to use all the features that big marker. So yeah, so now we will get started. So, um, this is coming from the pre panel questions. So, um, some students were asking, um, where do I start? Cause it’s, you know, starting the actual college admissions process is a bit hard, especially if you don’t have people around you that have gone through it.

So where do you recommend starting, especially now in this. Um, I recommend starting with clicking my link and, uh, setting up some time to meet with me. Um, or if you, if that’s not an option for you, I recommend going to your counselor sometime this week and sitting down and saying, Hey, I want to go to college and want to begin the process.

Can you, can you send me some resources to point me in the right direction, uh, to begin that process most Def most definitely. So [00:50:00] another student is asking, um, the connotation around like being first gen is kind of negative because you don’t have all the supports. So they’re asking, are there any perks of being first gen and does this help you qualify for, um, full scholarships or financial aid or any other benefits to being first gen or how to use it to your advantage?

So, um, with being first gen, I think it creates a beautiful experience for one, you to be able to tell stories back in your community, Excuse me of your process. Um, for other students that are going to be navigating the process. If you’re the first in your family, you are setting basically a tradition or a legacy within your family to go and be great.

Um, whether they decide to pursue college or not, or just be informed if someone else in the family decides that they want to go and navigate their process, um, there are some support groups on campus tailored towards first-generation college students. I, uh, had the pleasure of, um, [00:51:00] interning with Carolina first when I was an undergrad and I loved it.

And one of my favorite and most memorable things was during your week of welcome, you went, uh, all the first gyms came together and, um, You received a letter from another first gen that was graduating, um, that was just where’s the motivation. And you could frame it. And it was in the, it was wrapped with a, um, ribbon and it was like a scroll, you know, like when you get gifted your, uh, diploma and things like that.

Um, so I recommend, uh, finding those first gen resources on the colleges websites, um, as well as, you know, educating others, once you begin the process, you know, if you’re the only one that’s climbing the ladder and everybody else’s at the bottom, you know, how effective are you being? You know, you should be lifting and pulling people up with you that want to be pulled into.

Okay. So the next question, this is in the [00:52:00] chat. Do we have to make a college preparation binder? Um, that is kind of a niche question saw, just add in like, what are some things you can do to prepare? What are some things you should be pulling together to get ready for the. So I would recommend creating an electric, um, binder.

And so if you have a Gmail account, you know, maybe you will have a folder tailored towards the college application process within that, within that folder, you may put, um, your test scores, that your standardized tests, where those are you’ll have them in one location. Maybe you’ll create a spreadsheet of the different schools that you’re exploring.

What’s some tabs that, um, answer different questions that you have, like the average sat average act, the weighted GPA average from the previous class, the unweighted GPA average from the previous class, some different, fun facts about the school. Maybe they have some rituals and traditions that will be cool for you to know that.

Maybe you’ll want to do, I know for UNC chapel [00:53:00] hill, they say, you’ll get a four point, oh, if you go and drink from the old well, and I think the first day of class, and oftentimes they’ll give you different pins and stuff that people will have on their binders and stuff. So, um, I recommend having those things, I recommend having a list of contacts for different schools, you know, so who works in the admissions team?

Who can you call, what is their email, um, scholarships, you know, having a list of scholarships that you’re applying for when they’re due having a list of the deadlines for the different colleges and universities. Those are just some things that I can think of off the top of my head. Um, I see that there’s a question in regards to the common application.

So if you fill out the common application will, it will apply to all us colleges, public and private. So, um, the quick answer to that is no. So it depends on if the college or a university has uploaded their application into the common application. So some of them may say, yeah, we do common app. Others may [00:54:00] have it where you have to go through their own portal on their own website.

And then, um, some of those state schools may have a different portal hub where you need to go and apply, or sometimes they’ll have both links. So you can go on a plow on the website or that state portal hub, and also common app. Um, and you can just choose whichever one you want, but I would definitely ask that question.

As the another one and relation to the extra tips as for what to put on a college essay. Um, and so there’s no like, direct to answer for that because it’s going to depend on what college essay you, uh, uh, college essay question you are answering. And so I recommend that with any of the college prompts, you know, telling your story in some way that’s related to the prompt.

Most definitely. Um, if you can, and you know how to site, I would recommend, um, citing a source and your essay, if you have the space for it. Um, that’s always nice, especially if you’re applying to a big research university and being able to know how to do that. [00:55:00] Um, see a question in regards to standardized testing in terms of is if there’s a common website location and where, um, they can see if colleges accept act or sat.

So if you go to the common app, Website, there is a spreadsheet that puts if a test, um, it lists all the schools that are on the common app. If they have supplemental essays, as well as if the, um, standardized test is optional or not, and that can help you when it’s time for you to start sending in your scores.

I also would recommend that you super score yourself to see what your super score would be. And for those that don’t know what a super score is, a super score is when they take your highest math and your highest English. And that becomes your new score versus just that one test date that you took it.

Um, so say your first time you test it, you got a 600 in math. The second time you got a five 50 in math, but the first time you tested it, you got a 300 and reading. [00:56:00] The second time you tested, did you got a 600 and reading? They would take those higher numbers and combine those two, regardless of the time.

So we’re going to do a quick ad break. So once work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers sign up for a free consultation with us by going to and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation in a live team member, we’ll get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us now, back to the Q and a, um, so some students are asking what are some important questions to ask, um, during the college visits, um, I would definitely want to look at the dorms, you know, like see you, how you would be living.

What’s allowed. What’s not, if they have co-ed, if that’s something that you are wanting to do in terms of living in a dormitory that allows men and women, um, on the same floor, or if they’re separate on two different sides of the buildings, I would make sure that they offer a [00:57:00] major that you’re interested in.

Um, I would inquire about financial aid and how the need is missed or some people, I mean, well, it’s not people, but some institutions will have like a hundred percent financial aid, uh, guaranteed, where they will offer you a package that will meet 100% of the need that you have based on your, um, your FASFA and subsequent, um, financial applications that they have you complete.

Um, college essays are generally, they vary. So I would say anywhere between two 50 and 500 words, depending on the school, Um, what are some thing? Uh, some of the main things I should be looking for when I’m looking for colleges, um, so some of the main things would be, you know, do they offer the, um, the major that it is that you want to pursue?

If you know what it is, if they don’t, what are some of the majors that they [00:58:00] do offer? Maybe you can go and take a career assessment to see if there’s some other options that are out there. What does the diversity look like on the campus? You know, will you see some other students that look like you or that identify closely to, as you identify?

Um, what’s the mission statement and does the mission statement is the mission statement and alignment with what you value and what’s the value statement, you know, in terms of what they value on the campus and is that alignment with what you value and making sure that you’re going to a school that’s going to be a good fit based on those things.

And are they easily accessible? If every time you call the school, you never get through. Um, maybe that’s telling you something in terms of, if you were attending the school in person and not being able to, um, reach out and have someone reach back out to you in a timely manner. Uh, so this is a question coming from the pre panel, but what are some obstacles we make these as first gen?

So maybe some, um, during the application process. And then also if you’d like to add some dark college. Um, [00:59:00] so one of the biggest ones I would say is probably on the FASFA being audited and having to complete various packets for different schools, asking different questions and supplying them with the proper paperwork.

So I would not navigate that process on your own. I would definitely take that to, um, like a counselor or an assistant principal, if you have access or even a teacher, um, on campus to be able to help you navigate, um, feeling that those packets out. Another obstacle that I would say is, you know, battling that being away from home and not being like right now, Near and peer not being that near peer or being there for your siblings or your parents or your grandparents, or just your immediate family as a whole, and, you know, missing home, having like home sickness and being able to combat that.

Um, and I don’t recommend that you be extremely closed off because you need some friends when you’re on campus. You need some study buddies. I recommend exchanging contact information with someone in the, in each class, um, within that first week of school, so that you at [01:00:00] least have someone that you can reach out to if you ever missed the notes for class.

So you have to miss a class or something like that. And then I see that there’s a question about homeschooling. Um, if you are being homeschooled, um, you can reach out to through online resources. And I think that even when you are being homeschooled it’s for your state. And so you can go and look at your state’s website and maybe contact someone.

That’s a part of the department of education. I know for North Carolina, the department of ed, um, has some additional resources and people that you can reach out to in relation to navigating the college application process.

Uh, I, this can be our last question because we are coming up on time. Is there any single website source, which will give an idea about colleges and their acceptance rate of international applicants from different regions? For example, is there a quote system, um, for different international applicants to account for global diversity about, [01:01:00] um, so a single website source, I would say.

Maybe college factual. Um, but the best way is always going to be to contact the admissions office for those various schools, to be able to see what the diversity looks like in terms of inter um, uh, in terms of if they, what the diversity looks like for international students. Sorry, I started reading the second part of that.

Um, and someone asks about explicitly mentioning something about being a first-generation student in the application. You can, if you would like to, um, you get, maybe it’s, it should relate to something though. So it, maybe it should, maybe it will relate to, um, your extracurricular activities or it will relate to the community impact that you put in, or it will relate to something in your college essays.

I wouldn’t just put in a subsequent section, I’m a first generation college student because they’re going to be like, okay. And what. [01:02:00] Uh, so on the, um, like the demographic side of like the common app and other applications, it’s going to ask if your parents went to school, so you’ll be able to put it there.

So they’ll be able to see that you are first gen. Um, but if you had maybe you’re in a scholars program for first gen students, that could be another way to show it, but they will know based on what you put in your parent’s section, too. Um, so any last words of wisdom or advice or anything before we close the webinar, you can do this.

If I can do it, you can do it. There were people before me that can do it. Um, one thing that’s also important as oftentimes people think that because their sibling has gone to college, that they are not classified as a first gen. Just remember it’s first-generation you, your siblings and your first cousins are all a part of that first generation.

So you would still be classified as a first gen student. Okay, so thank you everyone for coming out [01:03:00] tonight and thank you to our panelists. This is the end of the webinar, and we had a really great time telling you about applying as a first gen college student. And here’s the rest of our October series.

It’s really going into different aspects of the application process. There are some private webinars, but I don’t think are listed on here. So if you’re a member in CollegeAdvisor, you can attend those as well. Uh, also think about getting an advisor if you wanted additional help on your essays and supplements.

And, um, there are also, um, we have our blog and our previous webinars. If you had more specific questions on different sections or different application portals. So thank you everyone. And good night,