For First-Generation Students, Crucial Support

For First-Generation Students, Crucial Support 1

Noah Berger for The Chronicle

Amanda Aldama (right), a senior at San Jose State U., helped produce a video for first-generation students like herself. “There were times,” she says, “when someone would say something and part of me wanted to yell out, ‘Oh, yeah, I went through that, too!’”

When Amanda Aldama was applying to college, she couldn't rely on her family for help. Her mother and grandparents, whom she lived with in San Jose, Calif., had not graduated from high school, nor had any of her cousins. She struggled as she tried to navigate the financial-aid system largely on her own.

When she enrolled at San Jose State University, she faced new challenges. She found college-level work far more difficult than her high-school courses. And