Recommendations for First-Generation College Students

Most students who leave college are likely to do so within the first four semesters. What can you do to ensure that you complete your degree and have a positive college experience?

Get Support

First-generation students are more likely to live off-campus, work while taking classes and be enrolled part-time than their non first-generation counterparts. By becoming involved on campus, you may receive the support you need and begin to feel more integrated with other college students. Join groups, organizations or support groups that are of interest to you. Also, talk with people you trust, perhaps your families and friends, about what you are experiencing as you adjust to college and a new environment.

Communicate about What you are Experiencing

In times of transition, it can be helpful for individuals to communicate what they are experiencing and what they need from one another. As you grow and develop, you may begin to feel different from your family and peers. This is a natural process for all college students, and it can be helpful to share your experiences with each other.

Utilize Resources

Take advantage of mentoring programs as well as the variety of offices and programs designed to assist you. Many colleges have offices for ethnic minority students, advising programs, tutoring programs, financial aid programs and counseling centers. Their services can help you navigate the college terrain as well as feel understood and connected. You can also benefit from getting to know an upper-level student who can show you the ropes. Finding a first-generation college student who has already been there a few semesters can be especially helpful as he or she can share tips on how to deal with the first year of college.

Maintain a Balance

You have a lot to juggle! With the demands of academics, work, family and a social life, it is important that you find a way to balance competing needs. Time management is essential and having a schedule can help you manage those competing interests and demands. Remember that the perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness and hard work that helped you get in to college will also help keep you here.