Many students feel overwhelmed and lost when navigating college. For first-generation college students specifically, often struggle to ask for help because they are used to figuring things out independently. Not asking for help can result in missing out on financial, academic and career opportunities. Hundreds of resources are available to help students who are the first to attend college succeed but many don’t know these resources exist.
You can find resources by searching online, but it can be helpful to reach out to your advisor and staff on-campus to find resources at your college. Because it can be confusing to look for resources online, I wanted to share two resources I found that can help you succeed in college and prepare you for life after college.
1. Rise First
Rise First is an online platform dedicated to helping First-Gen/Low-Income (FGLI) students succeed in college. The platform curates thousands of programs and resources nationwide, from career advice to lists of support resources and mentorship opportunities.
Cindy Rentala, the founder of Rise First, noticed more schools were enrolling FGLI students, but there wasn’t an easy way for students to find resources and information.
“I’ve mentored dozens of students throughout the years trying to help them find their career path and share advice along the way. About three and a half years ago, I thought, wouldn't it be great if I could send them somewhere and continue this dialogue instead of having a one-time conversation? I wanted to impact more people by providing advice, information and job opportunities on a platform for other students to visit,” Rentala says.
The online platform made it easy for students to search for scholarships, programs and tools in just seconds. Instead of spending hours searching for these resources on different sites, you can filter the resources by location, topic and category.
Collective Success Network (CSN) is a nonprofit based in Philadelphia that supports FGLI students through mentorships, professional development and leadership opportunities. CSN helps students navigate college and transition them into the professional workplace. If you are interested in being a part of CNS and its mentorship program, you can sign up here.
CNS also has campus chapters at various universities in the Philadelphia area like Drexel University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. The chapters at each university are run by students, where they provide a community for other FGLI students through social support and professional development events.
Starting fall 2021, CNS will be starting a Consortium Chapter for students who attend college across Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. The Consortium Chapter will be online, allowing more students to access CNS’s programs and resources.
Students often don’t know where to look for or don’t have the time to search for resources like scholarships, mentorship programs and networking events. The resources provided above have endless resources to help FGLI students succeed, and it can be beneficial to take advantage of them.