First-generation students are incredible—they are academic trailblazers and the first in their families to graduate from college. First-generation students make up more than one-third of all college students in the United States, inspiring others to break systemic barriers and pursue higher education. At Herzing University, first-generation students represent 35% of our graduating classes, earning degrees in valuable fields like nursing, healthcare, business, information technology and legal studies.
Pursuing a degree as a first-generation student can be daunting. After all, you’re setting out to accomplish something that no one in your family has done before. But with the right preparation, attitude, and support, you will not only be the first person in your family to graduate, but you’ll also be paving a path that others can walk for decades to follow.
So, take a deep breath, picture yourself walking across that graduation stage, and start planning for success:
Make a Positive First Impression
No matter how many times you’ve experienced it, the first day of school can be a bit intimidating. But a new school year is a new opportunity to excel academically and get one step closer to earning the degree of your dreams.
To start the year off in the best way possible, begin with a strong first impression. Whether you’re taking classes in a virtual or in-person format, taking the time to introduce yourself to your peers and professors is a small action that can create great stepping stones for the next few years of your academic experience.
Getting involved is a great way to make the most out of your time at University. Participation in events has been linked to strong leadership skills, emotional well-being, and multicultural understanding. Universities are full of opportunities for students to connect and explore interests, both personally and professionally. Organizations focus on a variety of topics, including majors, careers, hobbies and lifestyles. Invest in your educational success by exploring the plethora of involvement opportunities at your university.
For many first-generation students, free time isn’t always available. Volunteering or joining an extracurricular activity may seem unrealistic to fit into a busy schedule. However, by utilizing your University’s resources, you’ll find that extracurricular involvement isn’t an obstacle but instead a beneficial tool for improving your academic success.
Utilize Valuable Resources
One of the most important things to remember as a first-generation student is that you are not alone. Herzing University recognizes the obstacles that many first-generation students face in their educational journey, offering an abundance of accessible resources in response.
Alleviate some of the biggest student stressors by utilizing university resources within the comprehensive Student Services division, including financial aid, scholarships, and academic support.
- Financial aid: Let’s face it. College can be expensive. But with the right approach, you can benefit from the variety of financial aid options available. Learn about loan eligibility by getting in touch with the financial aid office or an admissions counselor. Be sure to also look into available applications for federal and state financial aid options.
- Scholarships: Unlike loans, scholarships and grants are not to be returned. While many scholarships are academically based, students may qualify for scholarships awarded for exemplary athletics, fine arts, essay writing and more. There are also scholarships available specifically for first-generation students.
- Academic Support: A strong support system makes all the difference in a student’s educational success, especially for first-generation students navigating unfamiliar challenges. The counselors and tutors at Herzing are dedicated to supporting your growth starting from day one.
Believe in Yourself
As a first-generation student, you are making a brave and significant step toward investing in your future. Be proud of yourself! While this educational journey won’t come without challenges, trust yourself to not only handle this adversity but also grow from it. You have already made incredible strides, now you owe it to yourself to keep it up! You have all the tools and talent to make this the best school year yet.
Herzing University offers a variety of degree programs within in-demand fields like healthcare, business and technology. Invest in your future by pursuing a degree you love. Enrollment is open now.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.