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First-generation students less likely to attend college, less likely to graduate

1/22/2002
January 22, 2002

Students whose parents didn't attend college are less likely to pursue a degree than students whose parents have at least a bachelor's degree, says the National Center for Education Statistics. They're also more likely to drop out before their second year than other students (23 percent vs. 10 percent).

Students from working-class families are more likely to work full or part time during college. That means they have less time to study, join activities and form a network of friends, according to an article in last month's "Recruitment & Retention" newsletter. They also tend to go to college later in life, so they may face an age gap on traditional four-year campuses.

Because working-class students often are the first in their families to attend college, they have a limited understanding of campus social and academic life. Complicating the problem, the article says, is that students often don't know how to articulate their needs or whom to approach for help with various problems.

As the number of adult students increases, colleges and universities are making increasing efforts to serve them, including forming organizations for older students and organizing social activities specifically for them.