Saint Louis University

First Generation College Students - F.A.Q.

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What is a first generation college student?

Officially, a first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university. This means that you are the first in your family to attend a four-year college/university to attain a bachelor’s degree.

At Saint Louis University, we call our first generation college students, First Billikens.

Am I the only first generation college student at SLU?

Nearly 15% of undergraduate students at SLU are first generation college students.  You are not alone!

What does undergraduate mean?  What is a graduate student?

An undergraduate student is any enrolled student at SLU who has not yet obtained a bachelors degree (four-year degree).  A graduate student is an enrolled student who has already obtained a bachelors degree, either from SLU or from some other college or university and is taking classes to obtain an advanced degree.  Examples of advanced degrees are a Masters degree (such as a Masters in Business Administration, M.B.A.), Law degree (known as a Juris Doctor, J.D.), Medical Degree (Doctor of Medicine, M.D.), or a doctoral degree (such as a Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D.)

What makes a successful SLU student?

The path toward student success is a combination of academics, involvement, wellness, and spirituality. Successful students seek and utilize the many resources available to support their path toward graduation. Successful students also find healthy ways to manage their time, money and maintain their health and motivation for staying in school.

What do I do when I am not taking classes?

Research has estimated that students spend only about 20% of their time in the classroom. When not in class (and not sleeping and eating of course), SLU students participate in a number of activities that augment and enhance the college experience. Of course, a lot of your out-of-classroom time should be spent studying and working on course material, but when you're not doing that, you should Get Involved. Check out the Student Involvement Center for ways to get involved at SLU and in the community. SLU students participate in clubs, organize sporting events, serve the community, and socialize and hang out. You have a lot of time to explore, engage, and connect with SLU. What you do with that time is up to you!

I need a job, where do I look for on campus jobs?

The Student Success Center, through Career Services, offers an online job database called CareerLink. It has jobs for both students who are qualified for Federal Work-study and students who do not.

What resources are available to help me succeed at SLU?

The Saint Louis University Student Success Center is your one-stop-shop for resources and services that will help you be successful at SLU.

When are exams? When will I have a break from school?

Check the Academic Calendar for break dates and exam schedules.

How do I approach professors if I need help?

Instructors typically have office hours, or time outside of the regular class hour, where students are invited to receive individual feedback about their progress, performance or an assignment. Students are also encouraged to make an appointment with faculty or other instructors if office hours are not at a mutually convenient time.

Approaching faculty is really easy, but we know that it may be awkward or challenging at first. SLU faculty pride themselves on their approachability and care for the whole student. Never be afraid to talk to a University faculty or staff member if you ever need help!

Can I have a car at school? Where do I park it?

Yes, students are allowed to bring cars onto campus. Visit Parking and Card Services to help answer any questions you have and to purchase passes to park. Click here for parking information and maps

Is there a school nurse? Where do I go if I am not feeling well or need someone to talk to?

Student Health and Counseling Services provides medical treatment, counseling, and outpatient services as well as a variety of educational programs for all Saint Louis University full-time, part-time, and graduate students.

Are their support programs specifically for me?

SLU makes a special effort to reach out and support first generation college students. Some students participate in the TRIO programs of educational opportunity, such as the Student Support Services program and the McNair Scholars Program.
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