First-Generation Students

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Students moving in on the Illinois campus.

Who is a first-generation student at Illinois?

The formal definition of a first-generation college student is a student whose parents did not complete a four-year college or university degree. According to the Center for First-Generation Student Success, roughly fifty percent of students identify as first-generation (pdf), but some are unaware of their status, which can make accessing resources difficult.

Here at Illinois, a student may self-identify as a first-generation student which may include not having prior exposure to or knowledge of navigating higher education institution and need additional resources. First-generation students may be diverse in several ways such as socio-economic classes, international, domestic, races, ethnicities, etc. Although first-generation students are often quite academically skilled and contribute in many ways to our campus community, navigating the web of college policies, procedures, terminology, and expectations can be a challenge. First-generation students sometimes face academic, cultural, and financial challenges that other students may not.

This website provides the resources and programs available at Illinois for first-generation students to obtain additional support to be as competitive and successful as their peers. Our institution and programs do not require students to share their familial background or their reasons for self-identifying as a first-generation student.