Advice from Six First-Generation College Students

Updated: Nov 3, 2021


Photo by Cristian Castillo.

Thousands of students are in the same position as you as they are the first in their immediate family to go to college. Navigating through college is a learning experience for everyone. If you are a recent college student, it can be helpful to read as much information as you can about “how to college” and see what works for you.


Hearing advice from people can prevent you from making the same mistakes they have made. Take a look at the different advice from first-generation college students to help you navigate through your journey.

“College is scary because it’s new to you. Embrace the opportunity around you. Take the time to explore and maximize the campus, the alumni network and meet as many people as possible. You never know where the opportunity will come from. You only can do that by putting yourself out there and stepping out of your comfort zone.” - Cindy Rentala


“Don’t be afraid to be lost. You don’t have to know what you want to do right away. Explore and learn what you like and don’t like. Lastly, don’t feel like you need to stick to your plan if it doesn’t make you happy.” - Cheryl Zhang


Photo by Wix.

“First-generation students spend most of their free time working and studying. My advice is to pick up a hobby and do things that make you happy. If you don’t take care of your mental health, you can’t perform at your best.” - Tina Lin


“You don’t have to take on the world all by yourself. It’s okay to rely on people for help.”

- Dennis Kim


“There are going to be moments where you need help, but you can’t ask for help from your parents. I think it’s important for first-generation/low-income students to learn how to ask for help by utilizing their community and the resources around them.” - Mariah Iseminger


“Don’t push yourself past your limits. So much can be achieved, but we often forget how much we’ve accomplished. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, and it’s important not to compare yourself to other students.” - Taylor Sessoms


Don't feel the need to follow each piece of advice you see online. Reading stories and advice from other students can help you resonate and feel inspired to keep going.


Best of luck on your journey!