Photo of Elizabeth Rodriguez, courtesy of GMA
Good Morning America celebrated the often times difficult journey to college for students such as Seton Hall sophomores Elizabeth Rodriguez, Public Relations major, and Karmen Yap, Finance major, who were among a select group of First Generation students chosen to share their inspirational stories on the GMA digital channel at the start of the academic year.
This year 26 percent of the University's freshman class is "First Generation," the first in their family to go to college. Elizabeth and Karmen, participants in Seton Hall's First-Generation Program, were interviewed at the GMA Manhattan Studios for an episode of what it means to be the first in their family to go to college.
From the Bronx, NY, Elizabeth shared her parents' struggles and how she wants to make them proud of her. "It makes me feel so good to know I have their backing even if I make career decisions they don't necessarily want for me," she shared.
Photo of Karmen Yap, courtesy of GMA
Karmen, from Malaysia, realizes the difficulties of living such a great distance from her family and how much their letters mean. "I just can't wait to make them happy again when I graduate from Seton Hall," said Karmen.
While college life can be difficult for any freshman, there can be additional barriers for students who don't have parents and family members who have had the experience of college to help them understand the complexities of higher education. Studies indicate that first-gen students are less likely to stay in college and graduate. The University's "Gen 1" initiative is designed to provide students with resources, support services and mentors and peers to help them to succeed, increase their sense of belonging and comfort, to familiarize them with the college experience and the concepts that are crucial to their success as well as expose them to the multitude of resources that exist on campus. The program was spear-headed by Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Services, and supported by Freshman Studies mentors and peer advisers to immerse students in college life, starting prior to the beginning of the academic semester.
To learn more about Seton Hall's Generation One Program, click here »
To watch the Good Morning America coverage, click here »