Advancing first-generation college students up the ladder
Arizona State University has launched a new program for first-generation undergrads that emphasizes the benefits and opportunities in advancing to graduate school.
The program, First Generation Pathways to Success (1stGPS), joins the many resources at ASU that encourage persistence in achieving a degree.
As the first in their families to aspire to a four-year or graduate degree, first-generation college students often face unique challenges.
Parents who have not completed college themselves may lack the ability to guide them through the process. Students from low-income families must work during college and can take longer to complete their degree. They may spend less time interacting with faculty or mentors who can support their career and graduate school aspirations.
Despite high motivation, the obstacles can create a higher drop-out rate.
At the first program event, first-generation faculty and graduate students talked candidly about their life stories, obstacles and challenges faced, and how it is possible to succeed in graduate school and career. Read more on these faculty stories.
“If I stopped at every obstacle that came along, I never would have made it,” said Eduardo Pagán, a vice provost in ASU’s Office of Academic Excellence and Inclusion and a history professor. The first in his family to achieve a degree, he advised, “you empower yourself by asking questions. You can’t learn if you don’t ask about what you don’t know.”
The keys to success emphasized throughout the conference were finding a good mentor, taking advantage of financial support available through scholarships, networking with fellow students, and utilizing resources at ASU.
First Generation Pathways to Success is supported by Graduate Education, the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, First-Year Success Center, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, School of Social Transformation and School of Community Resources and Development. Funding was provided by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Academic Excellence and Inclusion. For more information on the program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the resources available to help first-generation ASU students achieve success include:
• First-Year Success Center: A coaching program for freshman and sophomores to help them adjust to college life.
• Shades Multicultural Peer Mentoring Program for undergraduates and graduate students to network and be matched with a personal mentor.
• Academic Excellence and Inclusion has resources, events and news for ASU’s diverse student population.
• Your Future: Finance is a guide to financial services, resources and advice from ASU for undergraduate and graduate students.
• Pay for your graduate education with fellowships, work opportunities and loans.
• Explore Graduate School Seminars provides prospective graduate students with tools and resources, including free and low-cost test preparation courses.