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Tips to Help First-Gen Students Ace College

September 25, 2017

First-generation status got you down? Feeling pressured to prove a point? Wondering if you can do it? Here are some tips to help you get through college while impressing your family.

Don’t worry about fitting the mold

Coming from a long line of scholars, doctors or lawyers isn’t necessary to getting the ultimate CTX education, and it is definitely not essential in providing valuable perspective in the college classroom.

Not everyone is the same. Embrace it! A well-rounded education stems from hearing the views and experiences from those different than you. Don't let false notions of the pathway to traditional success stop you from doing your best. Put yourself out there and maybe others will learn a thing or two from you.

Get involved

Getting involved in clubs, organizations and Chapel are good ways for any Tornado to feel like they belong at CTX. However, for first-generation students, a “home away from home” is more crucial than ever.

You might find that you have more common ground with traditional students than you thought, or you might discover many other first-gens like yourself. Either way, involve yourself in activities that challenge and inspire you. Here are some ways to help you meet people and to get more involved at Concordia!

Befriend a professor

We have some of the very best faculty here at Concordia. Take advantage of this by attending their office hours, asking for extra help when needed and participating in class discussions.

If you find a professor you particularly take a liking to, hang onto him or her! They can be the best mentors. Also, you might want to use them for recommendations when applying for colleges.

Monitor your work/school balance

It is very common for first-generation students to maintain jobs while attending college. Working while going to school looks great on your resume, and if you do it well, it will show perspective employers that you can handle multitasking.

However, it is essential to keep up with your studies. If you are working so hard your grades suffer, it will be difficult to raise that GPA back to where it needs to be. Try to secure adequate financial aid (and get help if you are unsure how) so that you don't have to work so much that it negatively impacts your school work.

Accept any family support offered

We know, discussing the trials of college with family can be tricky when they haven’t experienced the things you are going through. However, if you are lucky enough to have family who love you and care about you throughout all things, they don’t need to have firsthand experience to help give you the encouragement you need.

After all, they know you! They will be your supporters when life gets you down, and your cheerleaders when you’re acing this university thing.