Four Essential Components of a First-Generation College Student Success Program

Four Essential Components of a First-Generation College Student Success Program

Friday, April 20, 2018 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EDT

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Gain strategies for supporting first-generation students across multiple aspects of their collegiate experience.

Though many institutions have a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of first-generation college students, very few operate these programs as a cohesive unit. This online training is designed to give you a framework for supporting first-generation students that will help you organize your efforts across numerous departments. Included will be methods for helping first-generation students:

  • Find their “college identity” and mitigate separation challenges
  • View their first-generation status as a badge of honor
  • Succeed academically and graduate on time
  • Build a professional resume that will serve them post-graduation


Who Should Attend

This program will appeal to student support professionals who interact with first-generation students, including:

  • Academic Advisors
  • Student Support Centers
  • Career Advisors
  • Directors of Residence Life
  • Financial Aid Professionals


Throughout this training we will focus on four critical elements of first-generation student success:

  1. Addressing students’ social-emotional needs: First-gen students frequently struggle to find their “college identity.” Learn how you can support your students who are having challenges associated with separation from their family. We will discuss tactics that you can use to address these challenges and develop a stronger college identity in first-gen students.
  2. Celebrating students’ achievement: Students sometimes downplay their first-gen status due to embarrassment. Gain ideas for how you can help students celebrate their achievement, connect with other first-gen students and faculty, and develop the skills they need for success so that they don’t feel outpaced by their non-first-gen peers.
  3. Graduating early or on time: First-gen students often face financial constraints that make graduating early or on time critically important. Learn what tactics you can use to help students finish on time and reduce their financial burden. From offering college courses in high school to educating faculty about the specific needs, you will attain tools for turning ideas into action.
  4. Building a professional resume: Help your students succeed after graduation by working with them to build professional connections and opportunities. We will help you develop strategies for organizing research opportunities, assisting with graduate school applications, and facilitating internships and service-learning projects that are ideal for first-gen students.



Detris Adelabu

Dean for the School of Arts and Sciences
Wheelock College

Detris Honora Adelabu, Ed.D., is a student centered, mission driven academic leader with a firm commitment to support and enhance the academic development and life opportunities of Students of Color and first generation college students. Detris is Dean of Arts and Sciences and founding director of the Emerging Scholars Program at Wheelock College-Boston. Detris works with higher education and non-profit partners to provide transformative academic opportunities that create a pathway to graduate school and to career success for her students. Her research examines factors that shape academic success for rural and urban African American adolescents.


Linda Banks-Santilli

Dean for the School of Education, Child Life and Family Studies
Wheelock College

Linda Banks-Santilli, Ed.D., is a former first generation college student who benefited enormously from higher education and from the academic mentoring she received in college. Linda is Dean of Education, Child Life and Family Studies at Wheelock College-Boston and an Associate Professor of Education. She is committed to helping other first generation college students succeed. Linda explores the psycho-social aspects of redefining the self and the challenges associated with navigating the culture of higher education. Her articles on first generation college students have appeared in the, The Washington Post and the Journal of Case Studies in Education.

Questions About the Event?

Elizabeth Hubbell
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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