Are you the first person in your family to pursue a four-year college degree? As a first-generation student, we understand that you may face unique challenges along the way, but we’re here to help. It’s your time to shine, to pursue a journey of discovery and to aim high.
Here are some tips that can help you throughout your college experience and achieve your goals.
Find Financial Resources
Having to fund your college education can be stressful as a first-generation student. We recommend that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine eligibility for financial assistance. Additionally, you may be able to earn scholarships to further assist you with your education costs. Here are some financial resources for various scholarships:
- University of West Florida Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Florida Student Scholarship & Grant Programs
- First-Generation Matching Grant Program
Pick a Major
Choosing a major can be challenging. You might not know what field you want to pursue, or you may not know anyone with experience in a specific industry. Sometimes, the number of programs offered at a university can be intimidating.
However, your enrollment counselor, advisor and professors are ready to help if you need advice with choosing the right path. These individuals can help you transition into college life and help you with the multiple aspects of a college education. They’ll help you find the program that best suits your interests and career goals, and they’ll help keep you on track throughout your educational journey by helping you select your next courses.
You’re not alone in being a first-generation college student. In fact, your fellow classmates may be the first in their families to attend college. To keep from feeling isolated and lonely, connect with your peers for additional support.
In addition, don’t leave those close to you behind. Remain connected with them as you continue your educational journey and show them how important your college education is to you.
Plan Your Education
Sometimes throughout your education, you may encounter obstacles. Some of them may be financial, some social and others academic-related. The best course of action you can take is to be prepared for whatever may come up.
Make sure you have everything organized and be able to prioritize your studies. Instead of just studying more, create a schedule of what time you’ll dedicate to studying. And if you can, it doesn’t hurt to get ahead of the rest of the class in your coursework.
Balance Your Studies with Work
It’s not uncommon for you, as a first-generation student, to have to juggle a job while pursuing a degree. But don’t let work get you behind in your studies. Try to find times to study wherever you can. If you’re able, complete some coursework during your commute to work if you take public transportation, or even during your lunch break. Your family members may be able to help with household responsibilities while you focus on online courses.