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Report: Exploring the Differences in First-Gen Demographics


Common App research explores first-generation college student definitions, revealing varying experiences and needs. Parental degree attainment impacts classification, with different thresholds altering group demographics and size. Data from 9 million U.S. applicants (2013-2022) shows 37% are first-generation if bachelor’s degree attainment is the threshold. Defining first-generation students influences program participation, funding, staffing, and socioeconomic status. Parental education predicts college readiness and socioeconomic status, with single-parent households facing unique challenges. Clear first-generation definitions and data analysis can guide institutional support and interventions.

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