First generation students are the first in their immediate families to attend college, sometimes along with other siblings. Definitions of what it means to be a "1st Gen" student vary, but Saint Louis University takes an inclusive approach to the term.
We include students who may be the first members of their immediate families to attend college, students who may have parents who had some college but did not complete a degree or students who may self-identify as not having prior knowledge of or exposure to higher education institutions.
Support For 1st Gen Students
If you are a 1st Gen student, you have a lot of company at SLU. In fall 2019, 12.4% of SLU students were first-generation college students. Additionally, there are hundreds of faculty and staff on campus who also were 1st Gen college students.
First-generation college students are an asset to the SLU community. This initiative is to help raise the visibility of the growing population in higher education, celebrate the intersectionality among our students and advocate for student readiness and success through programs aimed to tap into the 1st Gen student potential.
National First Generation College Student Celebration Day
November 8 was selected as the date for the annual National First Generation College Celebration Day to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.
Like other hallmark legislation of that era, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, HEA was intended to expand opportunities that had historically been denied to Americans from minority and low-income backgrounds. In addition to creating federal grants and loan programs to help students finance their educations, the legislation made key investments in institutions of higher education.
Additionally, HEA ushered in programs like the Federal TRIO programs, necessary for postsecondary access, retention and completion for low-income, potential first-generation college graduates.
Meet 1st Gen Students at SLU
Physical Therapy Major
The resource that has been most helpful for me at SLU has been the TRIO program, which provides academic and financial resources for 1st Gen students and others.
Mount Pleasant, WI
My mom told me I could do anything, as long as I put in the hard work...so, I'm doing this for her.
St. Louis, MO
Ph.D. Candidate in Cognitive Neuroscience
I'm proud to be a 1st Gen student because I bring a different perspective into academia and research, and science overall.
She/Her/Hers or They/Them
Tamil Nadu, India
I consider my friends and identity and cultural groups I belong to my most valuable resources at SLU.
I reached out to professors who know a lot about their fields to find out what jobs lead from those fields.
Doctoral Candidate in Higher Ed Administration
I'm really proud of being 1st Gen three times...for my undergrad, masters and soon...doctorate!
Tools for 1st Gen Success
Click on each of the below topics for a list of useful links.
- Academic Calendar
- Academic Support: Academic Coaching, Tutoring and University Writing Services
- Students' Opportunity for Achievement and Resources (SOAR)
- TRIO-McNair Scholars
- Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources
- SLU Vocabulary: From BSC to U101, understanding the Billiken alphabet soup
First Generation Faculty and Staff: What I Wish I’d Known
In the fall of 2019, more than 400 SLU faculty, staff, and students shared their experiences and advice for first-gen students through a campus-wide survey. Among other things, respondents were asked to complete this sentence: “When I first started college, I wish someone had told me . . . .”
Here are just a few of the things they had to say:
|Academic Success Resources|