Four Essential Components of a First-Generation College Student Success Program (Webcast Recording)



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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

Learning outcome

After participating in this online training, you will have a framework for supporting first-generation students on your campus.


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.



Linda Banks-Santilli, EdD, Dean for the School of Education, Child Life and Family Studies, Wheelock College

Detris Adelabu, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, Wheelock College


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