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What is First-Gen Day? {Discussion}

Last updated November 3, 2021

What does it mean to be a first-generation college student?

The first person in an immediate family to attend and graduate from a college or university is a first-generation college student. They are also referred to as “first-gen”.

What is First-Gen Day?

On November 8, 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) held the first ever National First-Generation College Celebration to honor the anniversary of 1965’s Higher Education Act. This act provided more people across the country with resources they needed to succeed in higher education.

Since then, COE and many other colleges, universities, and college access organizations have designated November 8th as a day to celebrate and share in the achievements of first-gen students across the country.

Why is it important?

While many strides have been made to make higher education more equal for all, first-gen students are often left at a disadvantage when preparing and succeeding in college. Not only do they typically have to figure out everything related to applying to college on their own (FAFSA, writing essays, applying for scholarships, etc.), they also have to navigate what the college experience looks like on their own once they’re on campus. First-Gen day is an opportunity to celebrate and uplift first-gen students and raise awareness about the changes to be made in higher education so that it is accessible to all.

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