Why support first-generation students?
First Generation students are often described as challenge-seekers, trail-blazers, proud, independent, and ambitious. We strongly agree. However, we also recognize that even trailblazers have a need for support and colleges are large, complicated places. As first-generation students, research has shown there can often be a lack of information access, resources, and networks regarding the student experience and the culture of higher education. First Generation students are more likely to work while in college, live off-campus, focus on vocational and technical fields of study, and drop out of college at a rate twice that of students outside this group. Studies have also shown first-generation students are less likely to ask for or receive help in applying for college, often delay starting college, are less likely to ask for help during crises while in college, and can have a greater need for academic assistance. Unfortunately, as trailblazers many first-generation students are also reluctant to ask for help, as they are accustomed to forging their own path and finding their own way. With this in mind, the UCR First Generation Initiatives was designed to help increase awareness of first-generation issues and experiences, reduce roadblocks, increase campus collaborative support efforts, and encourage students to use campus resources with the end goal of student success.