College can be hard for first-generation students

Going to college can be emotionally challenging as teary-eyed parents drop their kids off at the
dorms and doe-eyed freshmen realize they are lost after passing the same building three times.

But the experience is even harder for more than half of the nation’s students who are the first in
their families to experience higher education: first-generation students, which means they have
to make the college journey without a road map.

About 56% of the nation’s college students have parents who had no bachelor’s degree, similar
to the number at PNW – which has the highest share of first-generation students among Purdue
system schools.

Nov. 8 marks the national First-Generation College Student Success celebration. Institutions
nationwide are commemorating the achievements of these students.

PNW is committed to helping these students succeed through a variety of programs, including
TRIO, which provides academic and emotional support for students who often feel lost or
alienated on campus.

“Navigating the culture of higher education can be an uphill climb for a first generation college
student without access to pre-college activities and exposure to support personnel within the
educational institution in which they attend,” Maceo Rainey, director of educational talent
search, told The Times of Northwest Indiana.

“The TRIO programs have provided … exposure to activities and layers of support that … have
proven to be beneficial in assisting potential first-generation college students with the necessary
support needed to navigate higher education,” he said.