First generation students and other college students from lower socio-economic backgrounds don't have the same college experiences as other students and colleges are often not equipped to meet the needs of these students.
John L. Glenn, an assistant professor of English at Atlanta Metropolitan State College explains that to bridge the gap colleges need to understand:
But what does it mean to be a first-generation, minority college student?
It means being in a peculiar moment that has a lot to do with disruption. College is an incredibly disruptive process for minorities. The reality is that small colleges in Georgia are probably just as blanketed with feelings of isolation as Ivy League schools.
Right off the bat, college might mean facing off with parents who are unintentionally hostile to the idea of college, but still want the best for their sons and daughters. It might involve quitting a job — making an already stressful financial situation even more precarious — to focus more on classes.
I’ve heard stories of students having to sit out a year because their parents simply refused to provide their tax documents. Others were forced to forfeit scholarships so they could remain “at home.” Really, for many, going to college is about more than just leaving the nest, which many don’t do; it’s like metaphorically taking an axe to the nest and signaling the family identity will never be the same.