The Vermont Connection


This article addresses the importance for student affairs professionals to have proficient knowledge of the issues facing first-generation college students. A first-generation college student, the child of parents who never attended or completed college, often faces much adversity due to the lack of cultural capital, familial animosity, confusion about socioeconomic status, and a shortage of institutional support. In most cases, the identity of a first-generation college student is entirely invisible to others unless the individual makes other people aware—an oftentimes embarrassing disclosure. The Documenting Effective Education Practice (DEEP) project “examined the everyday workings of a variety of educationally effective colleges and universities to learn what they do to promote student success” (Project DEEP Overview, n.d.). Campuses involved in Project DEEP focus specifically on first-generation students. In this article, the authors will explore the methodology and practices of these campuses, share personal stories as first-generation students, and highlight the importance of student affairs professionals who focus on the support and development of first-generation college students.