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How do I navigate University as a first generation student ?

How difficult is University when entering as a Freshman, I am a first gen and I feel lost on knowing just what to expect? Please be specific about needs

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Subject: Career question for you

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Shreya’s Answer

Entering university as a first generation college student can be a lot of pressure. College is also very expensive. A lot of universities do 2+2 years with community colleges in the area (for example: HACC and Penn State Harrisburg), where you can get a lot of your initial classes completed for a much cheaper cost. Additionally, a lot of universities also do a 2+2 program where you spend 2 years at a branch campus and 2 years at the main campus (example: Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State Main Campus). Both options help you save a lot of money for school costs when comparing 4 years at a main campus for a university.
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Ismini’s Answer

Before you get to college, you could try asking the admissions officer if they can pair you up with a second year student from your community. That way you have an automatic friend when you get there, and that person can answer all your questions.
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Georgette’s Answer

Hello Myra,

College can indeed be a daunting experience for everyone, and you're not alone in feeling this way! I actually embarked on my educational journey later in life, and I had my fair share of worries. However, I found strength and encouragement in the support of my family and friends. I also discovered that connecting with fellow students who shared my interests on campus was incredibly beneficial. I encourage you to do the same. It's a wonderful way to make the college experience less intimidating and more enjoyable.

I wish you the best
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Shelisa’s Answer

Hello! Genius Minds!! Happy Friday! To you all!!
Thanks for your Question!! It landed at The Space
Station!

You won't be the first to Pray to God when lost! asking God to shine light in your world!
You won't be the first to Enjoy the summer right before College! Taking a much needed break for Self Love %100.

You won't be the first to attend Freshman Orientation at the college of your choice This Fall! Have questions! Ask Away! All your questions about college-life will get answered! Remember that there are no stupid questions!! Hope this helps! Have a great Summer everyone!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Mayra,

Navigating University as a First-Generation Student: Essential Tips for Academic and Career Success

University life can be an exciting yet challenging experience, especially for first-generation students who may feel lost or unsure about what to expect. Here are some essential tips to help navigate the university environment, focusing on academic and career needs.

Academic Success:

Establish a Study Routine: Developing a consistent study routine is crucial for academic success. Allocate time each day for studying, attending lectures, and completing assignments. (Source: National Center for Education Statistics)

Utilize Campus Resources: Take advantage of campus resources such as the library, writing center, tutoring services, and academic advising offices. These services can provide valuable assistance in understanding course material and improving study skills. (Source: American Association of State Colleges and Universities)

Join Study Groups: Forming study groups with classmates can help reinforce concepts learned in class and provide opportunities for collaborative learning. (Source: National Society of Black Engineers)
Stay Organized: Keep track of assignments, exams, and deadlines using a planner or digital calendar to avoid missing important dates. (Source: University of California, Berkeley)

Career Development:

Explore Careers: Research various careers in your field of interest through resources such as career centers, industry associations, and online job search engines like LinkedIn. (Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers)

Network: Build relationships with professors, industry professionals, and peers to expand your professional network. Attend career fairs, informational interviews, and professional organizations to learn about potential career paths. (Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers)

Gain Experience: Participate in internships, co-ops, research projects, or volunteer opportunities to gain practical experience in your field. These experiences can help build your resume and improve your chances of securing a job after graduation. (Source: National Science Foundation)
Prepare for Interviews: Practice answering common interview questions with the help of career centers or mentors to feel confident during job interviews. (Source: Glassdoor)

Campus Involvement: Engaging in campus activities can help first-generation students feel more connected to their university community while also providing opportunities for personal growth and skill development. Consider joining student organizations related to your major or interests or participating in intramural sports or clubs to meet new people and build relationships on campus. (Source: American College Personnel Association)

Authoritative References Used:

American Association of State Colleges and Universities
National Center for Education Statistics
National Society of Black Engineers

God Bless You, RICHLY, JC.
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Megan’s Answer

Hi Myra,

There are a lot of organizations and resources that focus on supporting first-generation students. Many campuses use Upward Bound or TRIO programs that support first-generation students. Be sure to see what first-generation resources are offered at your campus.

Be sure to use your resources on campus like:
-Academic Advisor
-Counseling center
-Career services
-Office hours with your professors
-Tutoring and writing center
-Financial services

These services are all free and included in your tuition so be sure to take advantage of your campus resources.

Some other programs that focus on first-generation students are below:

America Needs You (ANY)
ANY assists with professional development for first-generation college students. ANY hosts a fellowship program, which equips low-income, first-generation college students to graduate and succeed in their careers. The organization also offers FirstGenU, a free online program that prepares first-gen learners to secure jobs and professional internships.

Collective Success Network
Collective Success Network helps first-generation, lower-income college students reach their academic and professional potential through mentorship opportunities and social support. This Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization’s holistic mentorship program gives first-year and sophomore learners insight into the collegiate experience and how to advocate for their needs as first-generation college students.

I’m First!
I’m First! is an online community that celebrates and supports first-generation college students. Its website features inspiring stories from community members who understand what it means to navigate college as a first-generation student. I’m First! also offers a college guidebook for high schoolers who hope to become first-generation college students.

Rise First
Rise First follows low-income, first-generation students through the college journey and into the corporate world, providing camaraderie and support. The online community offers numerous links to scholarship and mentorship opportunities that can ease the financial pressure on current and future first-generation college students.

UStrive
UStrive provides virtual one-on-one mentoring at no cost to students who demonstrate financial need. For high schoolers, mentors guide students through applying for college and financial aid. For current college students, mentors provide college and career support.
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Jamila’s Answer

I was a first-gen student as well! My first piece of advice would be to reach out to as many people you know that have had the experience of going to college and try to get some of your questions answered. Being a first-gen student can be incredibly overwhelming especially when your parents didn't have the college experience. The experience of a first-gen is a unique one and your peers may not be going through what you are going through mentally, emotionally, or even financially. Finding a trusted individual on campus (my people were my scholarship director and my therapist) can make a world of difference, even if you only go to them to have a moment to vent about any frustrations you are facing. Carry that pride with you that you are starting a new trend in your family and be proud of yourself for setting up the next generation!

What to expect in college is that everything will feel different, but a good different. The freedom you may feel will be like no other, but that doesn't mean that you have to forget about the self-discipline that you need to be able to be successful in school. Learning how to balance school, work, if you will have a job while in school, and your social life will be a challenge, but self-discipline will be your best friend. Another thing to expect is the financial freedom you will have. However, this should not be taken for granted. Be sure to either save or repay any financial aid refunds you may have or use them to help offset your monthly expenses.

Finding friends may be a bit difficult if you are an introvert who keeps their nose in their book like I was. Stepping out of your comfort zone may help you find your people and may help you have a better understanding of the type of people you want to associate yourself with. You may even find yourself growing distant to people you went to school with in high school or prior to that if you are still friends. That is 100% okay! College is the place where we learn more about who we are, what we want, and where we want to go in life. Sometimes the people that have been on the journey with you so far can't go with you, and that's okay! As we continue to grow and change we have to be okay with the growing pains that come with it.

As far as difficulty, it will be as difficult as you make it. If you take the time to set up a schedule, plan out your finances, stay on top of your studies, and make time for friends and family you'll have it good! It takes a lot of work, discipline, and accountability in order to be successful in college. Everything may not come as easy to you as it did in high school and that's okay. Don't be afraid to ask questions, professors are more concerned about you understanding the material and the class than if you are embarrassed about being seen as incompetent. Take advantage of office hours! If you ever feel yourself slipping mentally or emotionally, don't be afraid to go and ask for help from your university's counselors or an outside therapist. Taking care of yourself is of the utmost importance, even more important than your studies.

All in all, college is a fun experience and an (expensive) trial to adulthood. Take a deep breath, have an honest conversation with your family and friends, and yourself, and put in the work to make sure you are as successful as you can be! And HAVE FUN!
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. I understand many students have similar concern. It is very common to have anxiety to start their college life.
Below are my suggestions :
1. Join the orientation camp / programs organized by the faculty or student union. It can help you to understand more on the college and department and you can establish people network
2. Do some campus visit to get familiar with the college facilities
3. If you will stay on dorm, suggest you join the orientation activities and move in earlier to know your roommate and hallmates
4. Review the syllabus of 1st semester
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
May Almighty God bless you!
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Li’s Answer

Hi Mayra!

I completely get where you're coming from! As a first-generation college student myself, I was completely lost my first semester and wasn't really sure where to start. Here are some tips/advice I wish I knew when I first started:

1. 1st Generation Club (1GC): Our university had a group called 1GC, complete with a Discord server for sharing resources—everything from campus events and financial aid to scholarships and freebies. Check if your university has a similar club (search through the involvement center or [university name] organizations). I recommend taking on a leadership role within the club to not only enhance your resume but also gain valuable leadership experience.

2. Explore Other Organizations: Once you start exploring, you’ll likely find many organizations that pique your interest. Join a few to build a wide network of connections! Other than IGC, I was also a part of the International Business Association, and a co-ed service fraternity, where I made some lifelong friends who remain a significant part of my life. These orgs also offered me a lot of opportunities like studying abroad!

3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: My biggest regret from my freshman year was not getting involved on campus right from the start. Coming out of high school, I was quite introverted and would head straight home after classes. Pushing yourself to engage more can enrich your university experience and help you make the most of your tuition.

I hope this helped and I wish you the best of luck in your academic journey!
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