First-Generation College Student? NYU Has Resources for You

Transitioning to college is exciting, but it can also be challenging, especially as a first-generation student. Here’s a quick guide to some of the resources available to you.

Students walking down a New York City street near NYU.

If you’re a first generation college student in your family, you might have a lot of questions about what to expect and how to prepare. Luckily, NYU offers a number of programs designed to provide you and other first generation college students with information, support, and mentorship as you become part of our diverse community.

First Class

Sponsored by the Wasserman Center for Career Development, First Class is a professional development and mentorship program open to all first generation undergraduates at NYU. As part of the program, you’ll be matched with a mentor who is a working professional in the career field you’re interested in pursuing. Mentors offer insight, experience, and advice on how you can begin preparing for your future professional life from the moment you step on campus.

As part of First Class, you’ll also work with a Wasserman career coach to understand the key elements of successful career planning. Your coach will also help you network and familiarize yourself with Wasserman’s resources as you begin your own internship and job searches.

Graduate Student Services and Programs

The NYU Wasserman Center supports first-generation graduate students through customized career programming and access to additional resources and events.  By participating in these programs, you can meet first-generation alumni who successfully navigated the graduate student experience, engage in facilitated dialogues with peers, and participate in career workshops specifically tailored to the first-generation graduate student community.  To learn more about this initiative and upcoming events, visit this webpage and sign up for the Wasserman Center’s first-generation graduate student email list.

FOCUS Mentorship Program

The FOCUS Mentorship Program gives first-year, first generation college students of color the chance to develop meaningful relationships with NYU alumni, faculty, staff, and graduate students. Sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, FOCUS matches current students with a mentor and gives them the chance to attend special events at NYU and throughout New York City at a discounted rate.

Participants also have the opportunity to share their experiences as first-generation students of color at conferences. In addition, mentees receive priority consideration to fill volunteer positions at university-wide events such as MLK Week and Solidarity Week. What’s more, they enjoy special consideration for internship and job opportunities, seats on university committees, and the FOCUS Book Scholarship.

Large group of people walking in the New York City campus.

First Generation to College Founders Fellowship

Offered by the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, the First Generation to College Founders Fellowship is open to all NYU students who are the first in their family to go to college. The fellowship, which is sponsored by the Santander Universities program, provides training and mentorship to student entrepreneurs and affords them the chance to apply for $5,000 scholarships.

Through monthly events, fellows build connections within the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute and other student entrepreneurs. They receive mentorship, coaching, and support as they face the challenges of being a student entrepreneur. They also learn about lean methodology and how to apply problem-solution fit in order to solve meaningful problems as they move their ventures forward.

Proud to Be First

At the College of Arts and Science (CAS), the Proud to Be First program pairs incoming first-year, first-generation students with a mentor for the entirety of the academic year. Mentors plan meetings, events, and workshops for their mentees and serve as an important source of information, insight, and support. Additionally, they help their mentees connect with CAS and NYU resources, faculty, and staff.

By sharing their own experiences as first-generation college students, mentors strive to help first-year students stay engaged and focused on their academic goals. Proud to Be First also facilitates the Secrets to Success panel, where first generation–identifying CAS faculty share their stories and experiences with current students.

Students posing in front of large NYU sign.

First-Generation Explorations Floors

Two NYU residence halls—Rubin Hall near Washington Square Park and Clark Street Hall near Downtown Brooklyn—offer the First Generation Explorations Floor. These inclusive communities are designed to help first year, first generation college students maximize their opportunities for success at NYU. They also offer unique chances to connect with essential resources on campus, including academic advising, career development, financial planning, and leadership development.

Additionally, residents participate in social programs that connect them with other first-generation students as well as NYU staff and faculty. Through these programs, students explore NYU and New York City during outings to museums, restaurants, Broadway shows, and other cultural mainstays across the city’s five boroughs.

First-Gen Fun at NYU Liberal Studies

Twice a year, the Liberal Studies (LS) Office of Academic Advising and Student Services hosts First Generation Student Welcome. Held during the university-wide Welcome Week in the fall and in February in the spring, Student Welcome offers first-year, first-generation LS students helpful information and resources to ensure a successful start to their lives at NYU. But that’s not all.

Every year, November 8 is LS First Generation Student Celebration Day. The day is open to all first-generation students as well as NYU staff and faculty who identify as first generation. And don’t forget about the LS Peer Mentorship Program. Through this program, first-generation LS students meet with an upper-level peer mentor who serves as a personal connection and provides academic support as they transition into college life at NYU.