Challenges of First Generation College Students

A collection of first-generation college essay examples

Learn about the challenges of first generation college students, as described in their first-generation college essay examples.

Last updated on July 17, 2024 by College Financial Aid Advice.

Rising Above Is My Only Option

Harvard 3

Harvard University

(Nora, New Jersey)

First Generation College Student Essay - Lance Armstrong once said, “Anything is possible. You can be told that you have a ninety-percent chance or a fifty-percent chance or a one-percent chance, but you have to believe, and you have to fight.” These words are my creed, my motto, my strength to succeed. This is not a question to me, or a challenge. This is my future! I am honored to say I will be the first one in my family to attend college. Growing up, my mom always told me that anything in this world can be possible, as long as I set my heart on it. My heart is invested in attending college and making my family proud. It is the driving force that motivates me to excel. When push comes to shove, the words “giving-up,” are not in my vocabulary. Through every struggle, every change that I have been faced with in my life, rising above has been the only option for me. With these convictions, I have found myself to be a strong, independent young woman.

Having four older brothers, and my mother being a single parent, I have “stepped-up” to help my family in any way I can. I work 40 hours a week, and I am proud to do so because helping and giving to others is a priority to me. My mother however is my ultimate hero. Not only has she been a fantastic mother, but she also takes on the father role, after my father passed away when I was only three years old in my home country. She found the strength and took the initiative to bring my family to a better country filled with ample opportunities to guarantee a better future for us. I will not take that for granted.

Through hard work, I’ve been fortune enough to have been accepted to my number one choice of schools; Suffolk University, located in Boston Massachusetts where I am planning on majoring in Global Business and minor in Criminal Justice. Being Latino in this country can be very difficult. My goal is to lead the Latino Community. I will lead the Latino Community in the future.

Moving to this country from Guatemala eight years ago has been one of the greatest challenges and transitions in my life. Leaving everything behind; my family, and my closest friends to start a new life where I would eventually develop a new language, gain new friends, meet new people, and adapt to a new culture. This has been very difficult, but yet has had a great and positive impact on my life.

Making a difference in this world is my ultimate dream, my ultimate force to succeed. I will show everyone how the Latino Population is important to America’s future. My mission is to graduate with Global Business degree and Criminal Justice to create advance and promote economic opportunities for Latino Business and individuals. We need to give Latinos’ knowledge on education, and training opportunities for business and personal growth; programs and events need to bring the Latino Community together, and help business grow and prosper by expanding the capacity of interaction with other non-Latino individuals and organizations around the world. If we Latinos flourish, America will flourish. Rising above is and will continued to be my only option as I meet each challenge successfully in college and in my future life.

One Step Closer To My Dream

Challenges of First Generation College Students

(Juan, Houston Texas)

As a first generation Hispanic student, I am committed to my education because I know in order to achieve my many personal goals, I have to earn a better education. Continuing my education after high school would show my family that their hard work and sacrifices have paid off. I would also challenge my sister who would graduate in 2013 from the same school as me, and my younger brothers to continue their education and also to look up to me as a role model in the family. I would like to pursue a General Business degree and get a Master’s degree.

My future career goals after college is help other people who are needy and build a facility were kids can get a lot of benefits out of it. I’ve been having this idea since I was little when I was realized how much sacrifices my parents were making for us to go to school, have clothes, have food, live in a good place, and mainly to have what they never had. I still remember when my mom walked my sister and me to school, sometimes it would rain and she would give us the umbrella or jacket while she had to walk back home drenched. Sometimes we had to ride the metro bus to go to the store to buy some food to eat. You don’t realize all these things when you are young but as you grow up, you start to realize these things. The idea of building a facility came to me when my parents would take us to Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center where we would receive free uniforms, school supplies, shoes, socks, vaccines, and food. During the Christmas time, we would receive some toys or a bike if we were lucky. Just recently I was invited by one of the workers in Ripley Center to be featured in a video called “I Am Houston”. In the video I talk about my future goals, and how I would make Houston a better place.

Being part of the Houston Dynamo Academy for over three years now, my other goal is to build a soccer facility where players can develop their skills and help them with their goals for the future. Members from the Dynamo Academy have helped me hang on to my dreams and I want to do this for younger people in the near future.

It hasn’t been easy for me to keep up with school and soccer, but it feels good when people admire your hard work or when people believe in you. In my spare time, I have volunteered to help not only my community but other people as well, for example this last Thanksgiving I helped clean the trays and items around the kitchen at the George R. Brown where they were giving hot food plates to families to celebrate the holiday. Being a Hispanic professional would make a big difference in my future and that of the community because now my voice and my actions would count in a positive way. In order to achieve and accomplish my goals, this scholarship would make me one step closer.

My Success

First-Generation College Essay Example

(Angelica, California)

My mom was not allowed to finish her education, and knowing that ignorance would not create a future, she desperately wants me to go to college. My dad's accomplishment in his education, have encouraged me and is my greatest influence, inspiring me to pursue a career in law as he did. My parents came to the U.S. with little, leaving the world they knew behind, and I admire them for that.

I enrolled in elementary school with hardly any knowledge of English. I struggled but saw my sister's example as she studied nightly. I did not yield to boundaries, but rather, forced myself even more in school. I am always eager to sophisticate my intellectual repertoire and indulge myself with acknowledging success.

When I entered middle school, my innocent world crumbled down as I opened my eyes to reality. I befriended the wrong people and was often made fun of and bullied constantly. These school years brought me to realize that whatever happened, it did not matter in the future and it only shaped who I would become. These experiences encouraged me in gaining interest in law, knowing I want to defend people’s rights.

I hold success at the palm of my hand. My mother never received such an opportunity in her life; therefore she anticipates I hold a brighter future. My Mexican heritage has also pushed me toward determination, ambition, and boldness. My world has been influenced by my family, school and culture, for I am confident there lays an open passage for the future Lawyer.

Hispanic Pride

Hispanic Culture College Admission Essay 

(Mayra, Ohio)

When it comes to Hispanic/Latin pride, I can easily say that I am very proud of where I come from. The hard work that I have put forth to make not just my life better but that of my family. I was born in Deleg, Ecuador. For the first five years of my life, of what I can remember, I spent watching my mom work and take care of the animals we had obtained, and make our home feel like a home. The struggles that we have overcome ,as we moved to the United States, trying to learn English and be able to communicate and to understand others was hard at first.

With hard work we have come a long way from where we had started. With everything going on, there are some things we have not forgotten that remain as a reminder to each of us, of not only of where we came from but what it means to us. The traditions that we celebrated in Ecuador stay with us, even though from time to time we cannot fully take part in the celebration. The dances and music are a huge part of our lives, since when both of them come together, the memories come floating in. The dances can sometimes tell stories, but all in all they are a part of us and to keep it alive we obtain videos of the celebration of Christmas in New York. That is where most of the dances take place in the United States, and since we can’t go there, we try and bring part of it to us.

Everyone has something that is special to them and that can almost to a point define the type of person they are. I believe that being Hispanic is a huge part of someone’s life because not only is it was they come from but also tells so much history. One way that it can be told is by music and dance. The way this does so is by the movement that the dancers do, and how it just flows with the music. I am participating in the multi cultural festival this year and am doing so with my friends. Even though not all of them are Hispanic or know much about where I come from, but they are starting to understand what it means to me and how important it is. Since I was little I have always wanted to participate and be part of something that expresses who I am. In Ecuador there are tons of dance groups and just by watching them has inspired me to want to be a part of them. That is what inspired me to show my school where I come from and something that is a part of me.

What makes someone who they are is something that should not be hidden or be embarrassed by. My parents have worked hard and have not only learned about life but morals that they have passed down to their children. What they taught me was to embarrass who I am for that makes me the person I am today. Not to hide away from where I come from. The work that has been accomplished is not just for the physical image of life. This means that just because we have been able to come to the United States for a better future and have somewhat accomplished what is meant by the American dream. We should not forget of the simpler life that we have lived before obtaining this one. Family is an important aspect in life and the closeness we have should not be taken lightly. It is by what we know about where we come from and how we are that makes us closer.

Many children don’t have the same opportunity that I was blessed with, in being able to better my education. So with the education I obtain as I go into college I want to be able to go back to Ecuador and be able to teach them what I learned and to keep dreaming for any dream can come true, but never to forget who we are, and where we started. That makes us, us. To take pride in what we do, the culture, tradition even food.

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