To the legions of college freshmen who have been tutored and molded and prodded toward a top college their entire young lives, it would be an absurd question. How many of you, a dean asked a room full of newly arrived freshmen, had to explain to your parents what MIT is?
In this Massachusetts Institute of Technology classroom full of 20-odd freshmen in their first few days away from home — at one of the most famous colleges in the world — almost every hand went up. Then, they laughed. And then someone cracked a math joke.
These students are “first generation,” the first in their families to go to college. This event is one sign of a growing movement to carve out a recognizable identity for a largely invisible population. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.