3 Organizations to Help First-Generation Students

As a first-generation student, you may feel like you are alone sometimes, and as if nobody around you has faced these problems and challenges before. You’re the first member of your family to attend college, and that can be an overwhelming feeling. Although, that does not mean that you are alone. There are many others like you who are going having similar thoughts and going through the same challenges. It can be difficult to find resources as a first-generation student, but they are available to you. I’ll be listing just a few of those resources below:

1) I’m First

If you’re looking to connect with other first-generation students and read stories of their success and the struggles they’ve faced, I’m First, is an organization that is devoted to giving first-generation college students a platform to speak. You can visit their website and click the stories section which will bring up videos showcasing the stories of other first-generation students. The stories range from current students to grads and alumni. You can also choose to share your own stories with I’m FirstI’m First also has a blog where you can both read stories from other first-generation students, as well as share your own.

2) Federal TRIO Programs

The U.S. Department of Education offers the Federal TRIO Programs, which are programs geared towards helping first-generation students succeed in middle school through college. Their programs are for higher education organizations, but they have many resources for first-generation students. They offer resources for students on applying for student loans, as well as information on loan forgiveness. TRIO also offers information on applying for grants which can assist in paying for college expenses. Other resources that TRIO offers are information on laws and data and statistics regarding first-generation students.  

3) rise first 

Rise first markets itself as an online community for first-generation achievement. This is offered in many different ways on their website, and they even have sections for support during Covid-19. To make everything during college seem more digestible, rise first supplies students with a “College Success Roadmap” it separates college into four steps, first year, second, third, and fourth year & beyond. This checklist can help to allow you to prioritize your college experience. Rise first also offers a nationwide scholarship director, which allows students to search by location for scholarships that might apply to them. The tool also allows searching for programs, tools, and networks. Lastly, rise first has a section dedicated to Covid-19 resources for first-generation students, as well as a blog that has stories of the experience of other first-generation students and what they’ve faced and overcome during the Covid-19 pandemic.

These resources are just the tip of the iceberg on what is available to first-generation students, and only one of the ways that first-generation students can access resources. There are many other resources available online, as well as other opportunities to apply to scholarships and find internships you are interested in. A good place to look for internships and jobs that interest you is to visit Handshake and run a search for internships and jobs in industries you’re interested in attending. Students can always bring up their concerns to their advisors, as well as accessing any of the mental health services on their campus.

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

By Alex Manna
Alex Manna Program Assistant | Pronouns: they/them/theirs