Saby Labor’s “Why the First-Gen Mindset Is Crucial to College Student Retention,” is a must-read for anyone working with first-generation college students. Labor’s method: Reaching out to student affairs professionals, many of them first-generation themselves, for their insights on the first-gen experience. Among the observations offered:
- “First-generation status is an invisible identity. My experiences as a first-gen student and navigating that identity have made me more perceptive to the difficulties my students are facing.”
- “I recognize that they don’t always know how to do things and that they may not know how to ask for the certain kinds of help they may need. They may also feel too proud to seek out help because they’ve had to learn early on how to get through college processes on their own.”
- “As a first generation student, my work in residence life and participation in a student club, ballroom dancing kept me engaged and created a safety net that I was mostly unaware of. I want to help the field recognize the importance of student affairs in persistence and graduation.”
Note: Labor, a higher ed consultant and Ph.D. candidate, is a first-gen college student herself.