How To Succeed As A First Generation College Student

Continue your journey to become the first in your family to earn a college degree
By UW Colleges

As a first-generation college student, you've done something no one else in your family has. You're continuing your education in pursuit of a degree, which is something you and your relatives can be proud of. 

Making the jump to college can be nerve wracking, but on a UW Colleges campus you're not alone. Every year around 60 percent of our incoming freshmen are first in their families to attend college. We're committed to your success, and to the success of all our first-generation students. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Lean on campus staff

Being the first to attend college can be nerve wracking, but the staff at UW Colleges campuses is in your corner. Solution Center staff can help you find information on course schedules, tuition payments, degree plans and plenty of other topics you'll encounter as a college student. Campus advisors, tutors and administrative staff members are here to help you succeed in your journey.

Advisor in yellow sweater with student in office

2. Get to know your professors

Getting to know professors can be a major benefit for any student. Professors at UW Colleges spend quality time in the classroom, so make sure you're engaged in class and asking questions. If you ever need help, your professor will be there to help you succeed.

Professor demonstrating hands on with students

3. Get involved on campus

Studies show students involved on campus generally have higher grade point averages than those who simply go to class. Joining a student organization, playing a sport or getting a job on campus will build your connection to the campus community. That investment in your campus can help lead to a successful college experience.

Student organization fair

4. Connect and work with other students

Joining a study group with your classmates is a good idea for any student looking to succeed. As a first-generation college student, connections with your classmates can act as a support system. Having peers to talk to about school, majors and other aspects of student life can make a huge difference. 

Group of students working together

5. Be proud of your first-generation status

Always keep in mind you're doing something no one in your family has done. This is new territory, and there will likely be a lot of questions and difficult moments. But your first-generation status is something to be proud of and carry with you as you find success as a student.

Students working around a table

The staff and faculty at UW Colleges are committed to your success as a student. You're breaking down barriers as a first-generation student, so don't forget to follow these tips on your journey to your degree.