First-generation students thriving at Kennesaw State


KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 6, 2020) — Madeleine Carden admittedly was apprehensive about being the first person in her family to attend college. However, she felt at home right away at Kennesaw State through the University’s initiatives to help first-generation students succeed.

Early in her freshman year, Carden attended the inaugural meeting of First-Gen Owls, a registered student organization that strives to build interpersonal skills, connections and a sense of belonging among its members. Carden described that meeting as “an eye-opening experience,” as she met several KSU alumni who were enjoying successful careers after having been the first in their families to earn college degrees.

“I started to realize there are so many other people like me and so many resources for people like me, and now I’ve become a resource to other students who came in like I did,” said Carden, now a senior nursing student and the president of First-Gen Owls. “That was the moment I realized it’s actually awesome that I’m first-generation. Now it is something I am so proud of.”

About 38 percent of Kennesaw State’s more than 41,000 students identify as first-generation, which the University defines as students whose parents or guardians did not attain a four-year college degree.

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