Survival Guide - First-Gen Students

Transitioning to College: First-Generation Students

A first-generation student is someone whose parents did not graduate from a four-year university.  Many students don't even realize that they are considered a first-generation student.  If this description fits you, please know that as you navigate college as the first in your family to go to a university, there are many support systems in place.  Check out the First2Go program and join to meet other students as the first in the family to go to college.  There is also much support for first-generation students through the the MOSAIC office, Gateway Guides, and students' Academic Advisor.


First-generation students may feel that it is much more difficult to stay in college than it is to get in.  Students describe experiencing academic, social, financial, and family issues as key challenges during their transition to college.  This may include:

  • Bring prepared academically for their classes and college work
  • Acclimating to the college environment
  • Involving parents/guardians in the college-going process
  • Helping manage personal financial aspects of college