5 Helpful Tips for First-Gen Students

5 Helpful Tips for First-Gen Students

By: Julissa Martinez

College is hard enough to navigate already, but especially as a  first-gen student. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. College can be overwhelming, but it becomes especially hard to navigate for  first-gen students. First-gen students face academic,  financial and cultural challenges that can limit their success in a college environment. We spoke with a  rst-gen student who wished she had more support during her college career and offered some tips for those who are about to embark on the journey. These tips can also be helpful for adults who have  first-gen students in their lives and may not know how to support them. Please share this with them! 

Find a mentor 

a. Connect with someone who can provide you with guidance and support your journey. A mentor can be another  first-student who has graduated and understands what you are experiencing. It can also be a professor, counselor and a professional you meet. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for support 

a. Most universities will have resource centers that can provide free academic support, tutoring, and guidance. Those centers can help with writing assignments, math and other projects you may be struggling with. It’s also important to take advantage of office hours. Each professor, teaching assistant will have office hours available to answer questions about syllabus or assignments. Don’t be afraid to look for these types of opportunities.

Find programs 

a. Some colleges may offer summer bridge programs that can make your transition helpful. Ask the college or university you are interested in if they offer a program. If they don’t, ask about other programs they may offer for first-gen students. Internships are also good opportunities for students. These can help you explore your career but also connect you to professionals in your  field of interest. 

Connect with like minded individuals 

a. Most universities will have  rst-gen groups, clubs that can help you connect with other students who understand your experience. This can be helpful as you navigate college life and its challenges.

Give yourself grace and take care of your mental health 

a. Most  first-gen students put a lot of pressure on themselves to ensure they are making their family proud. Always prioritize your mental health and learn to give yourself grace when you most need it. Find out if your school has a counseling center or any free mental health services. This can be helpful with challenges you might face such as family conflict, transition to college, academic stress, depression, anxiety, or relationship struggles.

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