Does Being a "First Generation College Student" Really Help?

  I've come across with this term few times in the forum and really got curious. Does it really help for mba applications? I am a first generation college student from the middle east, more than that, my parents are both primary school dropouts bc of their families' financial situation back then. So I guess I could say I am the first person to graduate from primary school, high school and university. But do schools really care about this stuff? 

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Comments (17)

Apr 5, 2021 - 4:55am

Surprisingly, they do. I wouldn't spend too much time on it though. Just mention it in one or two sentences. Proof? There are plenty of scholarships reserved only for First Generation students (at least my school).

As a side note, it's funny how sometimes things that are normal to you are seen as disadvantages to others. I'm also a first generation student and never really thought about it.

Apr 5, 2021 - 7:11am

Should I mention about that, my family's financial status, how I grew up etc. ? (I was born and raised in a small village until highschool). I hope some of those scholarships are for international students, because I really need some financial aid. 

And may I ask you which school are you enrolled at ?

Apr 5, 2021 - 7:29am

You can just start with a sentence like "I was born and raised in a small town in X, and I will be a first generation student". Not the best but you need to sneak it in and it works as an ok introduction (in my opinion).

I'm at LBS and there were plenty of questions and essays to cover details like this.

Again, do not go off-topic. If they aren't asking about your background, don't give them a sob story. But you can also link your future ambitions (eg mentoring kids or social projects in your country) to your upbringing. That's fine. Plenty of ways to do it - sorry if its confusing.

Apr 5, 2021 - 7:29am

You can just start with a sentence like "I was born and raised in a small town in X, and I will be a first generation student". Not the best but you need to sneak it in and it works as an ok introduction (in my opinion).

I'm at LBS and there were plenty of questions and essays to cover details like this.

Again, do not go off-topic. If they aren't asking about your background, don't give them a sob story. But you can also link your future ambitions (eg mentoring kids or social projects in your country) to your upbringing. That's fine. Plenty of ways to do it - sorry if its confusing.

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Apr 5, 2021 - 2:53pm

I know a few white first gen people who have gotten early acceptances from Cornell's diversity outreach office, so yes, it can be a huge advantage

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