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9 Tips to Help You Succeed as a First-Generation College Student

Posted by: Holly Weakland, Co-Director, First Year Experience Get Free College Essay Tips
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Nearly one-third of all incoming freshmen each year are first-generation college students (US Department of Education). A first-generation college student is defined as a student coming from a family where neither of their parents or guardians have obtained a bachelor’s degree. 

While being a first-generation college student is a wonderful achievement, research shows it can also bring unique challenges. If you’re a first-generation student, it’s important for you to know that you are supported by your family, your community, and college administrators, faculty, and staff. We all want you to succeed! That’s why at Meredith, we have a variety of resources designed to help you do just that.

Here are nine quick tips to help you succeed in college.

  • Build your academic skills such as studying, effective note-taking, and memorization techniques.
  • Enhance your time management skills (creating a sleep & mealtime schedule, study time, etc.)
  • Become familiar with each class’ syllabus, assignments, due dates, etc. as well as academic expectations.
  • Explore various student organizations on campus and how to get involved. There are numerous ways to get involved on campus through an honor society, campus traditions, volunteering for an event, etc that you can align with your schedule.
  • Enroll in a first year experience/university success course if offered.
  • Attend faculty office hours if you need help or want to build a good relationship with your professor. Professors intentionally provide these office hours outside of class for this reason and will post their availability on or around their office door.
  • Keep your family informed about the things you are learning, the activities you are involved in on campus, and the documentation you need to submit to various offices. Not only will they be proud of you, they are learning from you, too!
  • Access valuable campus resources. These resources are for all students and include academic advising, the campus career center, learning center, financial aid office, the library, and the campus counseling center. Staff in these areas are experts in their fields and are eager to share their knowledge with you!
  • Explore stores close to campus (many offer student discounts!).

Your strength and determination have brought you to this point. As is true of every college student, you’ll be more likely to succeed if you take advantage of the many resources available to you. So when you’re visiting colleges, be sure to ask about the kinds of support systems described here.

Visit Meredith.

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