In her 2015 New York Times essay, Jennie Capó Crucet describes being a first-generation college student in 1999 — before the internet was ubiquitous. Her university really did a great job at recruiting her, but didn’t have the support systems that she (or her parents) needed.
While information on what students need for college is available with just a few keystrokes and a search engine, the resources required for parents supporting first-generation students aren’t as easy to find, if at all.
When Crucet received her first English assignment, she called her Mom. Think that's crazy? Its not. Our research found that college students interact with their parents 13 times a week, and first-generation and minority student interact even more. Yet, they don't know what they don't know: neither Crucet nor her Mom had any idea of the resources available to her at the time, but her professor gave her a list when she got her paper back.
It's that type of communication that's important. Students with parents holding college degrees are lightyears ahead: they know the process, the expectations, the style, and the benefits of college - and have also been preened towards college thinking their entire lives.
Institutions have a unique opportunity to communicate with parents of first-generation students, and research shows that many of these parents would welcome the communication. With CampusESP, setting up a community for first-generation families allows you to better serve these parents and their students. Provide information, deadlines, and coaching from available support services, to financial aid deadlines, definitions and processes, and expectations. Parents can opt to receive this information in an email digest or login to a portal of curated information pertinent to their position.
In the 20th century, we empowered first-generation students. Now, with CampusESP, we have the chance to empower their parents and families.