First-generation college student? Here's some advice!

Jul. 30, 2018 by Ashley Sava

gen1logoIf you will be the first in your immediate family to graduate with a college degree, then we consider you a first-generation college student, or as we say here at Concordia, a Generation1. First-generation college students face a unique set of challenges. Here are some ways you can let your Gen1 status carry you to success! 

1) Attend our Gen1 events. Gen1 events occur on the third Thursday of each month beginning in August. Generation1, or Gen1, is a family-centered program designed to help first-generation college students and their families successfully navigate higher education. Let us set you up for academic success by providing support, guidance and a network for students and families who wish to connect with each other as they work towards their academic goals. Read more about Generation1 here.

2) Befriend a professor.  Concordia faculty are known for supporting their students outside of classroom hours. 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, keep in touch with him or her! They can be the best mentors. Also, you might want to use them for recommendations when applying for jobs later down the road. 

3) 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 future employers that you can handle multitasking. However, it is essential to keep up with your studies. If you are working so hard your grades start to slip, 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.

4) Get involved. Involvement 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 Gen1 student "get you." 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!

5) Be yourself. A well-rounded education stems from hearing the views and experiences from those  who are 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. 

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