Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

First-Generation College Student? Consider Online Education.

The first generation to attend college can face significant challenges, but the right online college or university can provide a successful experience.

The definition of a first-generation college student is as simple as it sounds: undergraduates who are first in their immediate family to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Online or on campus, the challenges of first-generation college students are similar, from a lack of guidance to competing work and family responsibilities.

How can an online college or university help foster a positive, rewarding college experience for first-generation college students? We’ve compiled a list of ways an online education can aid those who are first in their generation to attend college.

First-Generation College Student? Consider Online Education.

  1. Provide Guidance and Support Services
    Perhaps the biggest challenge is simply a lack of guidance, from how to apply to college to help choosing classes. Many online colleges and universities provide round-the-clock advising to assist students with their college education. An online bachelor’s degree program at the right university can provide the type of support many first-generation college students need to thrive.

  2. Help Balance Work and Family Commitments
    Many first-generation college students work full- or part-time jobs while they pursue their college education. A significant number also have family responsibilities. The flexibility and convenience of an online bachelor’s degree program enables students to better balance work, academics, and family obligations. With an online education, there’s no need to travel to class. Students can view lectures day or night from the comfort of home, and participate in class discussions where and when it’s convenient.

  3. Promote a Sense of Community
    A big part of any college education is becoming part of a community. Enrolling in an online bachelor’s degree program helps provide an instant sense of community, as it requires students to begin communicating immediately with their classmates—something first-generation college students may not experience right away (or at all) in an on-campus environment.

  4. Connect You With Faculty
    Approaching professors with questions in person may be difficult for first-generation college students. Between discussion boards, e-mail, video chat, and more, an online education provides the perfect venue for students to get comfortable interacting with faculty. In fact, many students enrolled in online bachelor’s degree programs get to know their professors better than those attending on-campus institutions.

  5. Assist With Financial Aid
    First-generation college students may not be familiar with financial aid options available to help offset the cost of a college education. Oftentimes, this lack of knowledge deters these students from pursuing a higher education at all. Online colleges and universities do an excellent job of connecting students with the financial aid support they need to pursue a bachelor’s degree online, from loans and scholarships to assistance with forms.

  6. Develop Professional Networks
    Many first-generation college students don’t have built-in professional relationships that those from college-educated families may have. Bachelor’s degree programs at online colleges and universities provide a great way for students to communicate with faculty members who are also expert practitioners in their field, and who may be able to connect them with other professionals in their own networks. An online education can help students make lifelong professional connections that will help them while they’re earning their degree—and well into the future.

  7. The Walden Undergraduate Academy™.
    One of the best ways to stay on track with your degree is with The Walden Undergraduate Academy™. It’s designed specifically for Walden student new to the college experience who are just beginning a bachelor’s degree program. You’ll learn alongside other first-time students, completing a prescribed set of General Education courses during the first four quarters of your online program. During this time, you will have the support of specially trained advisors and faculty dedicated to providing you with a strong foundation for continued academic success. You’ll gain new workplace skills and earn certificates of completion for reaching key program milestones. Participating students of the Walden Undergraduate Academy™ also receive two financial incentives—reduced tuition prices for the General Education courses they complete while in the Academy and a grant upon successful completion of their degree program. It’s a great path for first-time adult college students who wish to position themselves for success as they embark on a new educational journey.

Walden University, an accredited online institution, makes it easy for first-generation college students to pursue a college education. Discover how Walden can help you achieve your dreams with an online bachelor’s degree.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,