Skip to main content

Choosing a College from a First-Generation Prospective.

Jevon gives advice on key things to look for in a college from his perspective.

Jevon gives advice on key things to look for in a college from his perspective.

Hey Y’all!, 

This week I hosted a prospective student who was also a First-Generation college student and I thought it would be great to talk to you about how I chose Carleton.

Weekly Update:

Week 6 was great! It was relatively short because of our mid-term break which was only one day but felt like a week. I gave my first presentation in college and it went well considering I was talking about the Garbage Patch. I started writing that 2,000-word article that’s due in two weeks. Overall it was a productive week and fun week.

When I began my college search the main thing I thought about was location and quality of education. I needed to be in a place where I could go home anytime, just to be around my family and get the support I needed to stay motivated. However, as senior year and life in general went on my priorities changed. Location was no longer important in my quest for the school I would call home for the next four years. When deciding on my future home I looked at Affordability, Inclusiveness, Opportunities, Resources and Student Support Services, and Social Atmosphere.


I primarily applied to some of the nation’s hardest schools because they are known for giving generous financial aid — something that is extremely important to me attending school. I feel like affordability is a big concern for first-generation students. For me, I wanted to get a high-quality education without being a burden to my family. Most schools offer a financial aid calculator where you could get an estimate the amount your family would have to pay for your education after financial aid. Don’t let this estimate overwhelm you! If you feel it’s unaffordable you can always reach out to the financial aid office. Carleton’s financial aid package was better than the offers I received from the other schools I applied to. Additionally, there was still a little room for negotiations.

Inclusiveness & Social Atmosphere

As a person of color and a first-generation student, it was crucial that the school I attended was supportive of people from different backgrounds. I didn’t want to be put in a position where I would constantly be on the defense when it comes to my identities. This is something you can’t really tell from the diversity section of an admissions website but only by visiting the campus itself. In terms of diversity, it’s important to look at what the school defines as a diverse campus. I didn’t only limit myself to information that was present on the website but I asked a few uncomfortable questions to Admission Counselors or student tour guides.

I also find that getting the stereotypical college experience was somewhat necessary (Sorry Mom). There is nothing wrong with asking about the party scenes at your school. You’ll find at Carleton that there’s nothing wrong with going to parties or deciding to spend your Friday night in your floor lounge. This goes to say that here there’s no pressure for you to either party or stay in your dorm.

Resources and Opportunities

If there was anything that pushed me to attend Carleton it would be the availability of resources and Support Services. This was not something that I was looking for in my school but ended up being the most important deciding factor for me. Carleton prides itself with the number of resources that it offers its students. This ranges anywhere from its amazing Career Center to the Goodsell Observatory.

*Quick Tangent* I used the telescope for the first time! And…I saw the moon. I don’t know if you can tell but I was very excited! Check out the picture of me struggling to look through the little telescope.

Jevon looking through a telescope
Jevon struggles to focus his left eye on the Moon

Back to resources, it was small things or large things like this that made me choose Carleton. Another resource that Carleton and most other institutions offer is a TRIO office. TRIO is a program that supports students who are first-generation, low-income, or have a documented disability. Every TRIO program differs from school to school, but the mission is the same. The availability of resources plus an open attitude to exploring really makes learning fun and is something that I would not trade. Carleton normalized study abroad, when I learned that the majority of Carls participate in an Off-Campus Program at least once during their time at Carleton I secured my decision to pursue my education at Carleton.

There are more factors that go into choosing the right college, but I feel these are some that you should think about. Also, don’t be scared to reach out! I’d love to answer any questions you may have about Carleton or the college admissions process.

Until next week!

Jevon is a first-year student from the Big Apple. Other than defending that he is an authentic New Yorker (he’s from Long Island), Jevon spends his time immersing himself into Carleton’s vibrant student social atmosphere. He is considering majoring in Biology or Chemistry; either way, Jevon has plenty of time to decide. Meet the Other Bloggers!