Tips and Advice for First Generation College Students
Tips from Current SLU First Billikens:
- Get involved!! Join clubs and attend campus-wide events.
- Experience service and working with others in the St. Louis community.
- Try not to be shy. Introduce yourself; there are people here to help.
- It can sometimes be hard to find a sense of belonging, but don’t be afraid, because the SLU community is welcoming.
- Use resources that are available to you.
- It’s important to be open-minded.
- Ask questions - don’t be afraid to ask questions; if you are looking for help, you will find it.
- Introduce yourself to your professors, they’re human just like you and me!
Recommendations for First Billikens:
- Attend Fall Welcome – this will help get you connected to the SLU community and resources from the very start. Please check out the Fall Welcome website for more information and questions.
- Get Involved – join clubs and organizations that are of interest to you. Try and find at least 2 to 3 clubs to join in the fall semester. Also, try and make one of those clubs something that you’ve never done before. By getting involved you’ll start to develop your support system on campus.
- Utilize Campus Resources – we encourage all students to take advantage of all the programs and services available to assist you! Please visit the Student Success Center for more information about how to be a successful Billiken. Also utilize your fellow first-generation college students as a resource, since they have already navigated through this experience and are knowledgeable about all available campus resources.
- Find and Maintain Balance – Balance, organization, and time management will be key to your success. With your academic, social, work, and family responsibilities, it will be important for you to find a way to balance competing needs and obligations. Remember the hard work that got you here will also help keep you here. Visit Campus Ministry to talk to someone about balance or better yet, attend one of their many retreats.
- Ask For the Support of Your Parents/Family – since your parents did not pursue a bachelor’s degree, they may not understand what you are experiencing and the amount of time and effort you will be putting into your academics. Provide your family members with an idea of what college is like by sharing with them your daily activities and let them know how they can best support you. If you need help starting those conversations, visit the office of Student Support and Parent and Family Services, they’ll help you find the best ways to communicate what you are going through.
What is First Generation?
Students are considered “First Generation” if their parents/legal guardians have not completed a four-year college degree. Some experiences we may have in common are:
- Being the first in the family to navigate a university system.
- Overcoming past obstacles to reach this achievement.
- Managing the "two worlds" of school and home.
- Feeling pressure to excel as the first in the family to make it to college.
- Relating to peers who do not share the experience of being First Generation.
- Learning unspoken cultural norms and expectations of university life.
- Explaining the demands and rigors of college life to family and friends.
(Adapted from M.I.T.)