Students walking around on the NYU New York City campus.


Being the first person in your family to attend college is an incredible achievement. So, if you’re a first-generation college student, congratulations! You’ve come a long way. Now NYU’s Proud to Be First program is here to ensure you have what you need to successfully navigate the challenges of college life. However, Proud to Be First, a College of Arts and Science program, is only one of many campus resources supporting first-generation students.

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Peer Mentors Understand the Highs and Lows of the First-Year Experience

When you join the Proud to Be First community as a first-year, first-generation student, you can opt to work with a trained peer mentor. Your mentor will be there for you throughout your first year as you explore your interests and chart your future. Working through his own initial challenges inspired Daniel Soto, a senior Biology major, to become a mentor. “I felt behind, slower than everyone else, and limited by my lack of connections,” he explains. “In addition, I had anxiety around school, work, and my social life. I knew I needed to make changes, so I sought out resources that shaped me into the confident person I am today! Proud to Be First gives me the chance to share what helped me. This way, I can help others push through the struggles that come with being a first-generation student.”

In addition, mentees have access to academic and social programs planned by their mentors. “We recently had an amazing student panel,” recalls Proud to be First assistant director Alexandra Cordero. “There, first-generation students shared their majors and other activities with other first-generation students. We also host events like study abroad panels and game nights with food and giveaways. Everyone has a lot of fun.”

A student sitting at a table, writing.
Learn to Network and Connect in a Supportive Environment

After your first year, you can take advantage of Proud to Be First’s Faculty Connect program. It’s designed to help second-year students make connections and practice networking in a supportive environment. Therefore, Proud to Be First will pair you with a first-generation faculty member. Through the program, you’ll meet with your faculty member for coffee or lunch at the Torch Club. Over a meal, you’ll learn about their first-generation journey and have the chance to ask them for advice and gain insight into their field. What’s more, many faculty also serve as Proud to Be First Advocates. If you feel you need support or want to build connections within the NYU network, you can reach out to an advocate at any time.

Four students sitting in a lecture hall.
Ready to Get Involved? Proud to Be First Can’t Wait to Welcome You!

At your preregistration meeting, if you are a first-year student, your adviser will remind you to check out Proud to Be First. But, if you already know you want to get involved, you can email Cordero and her team at [email protected]. Second-, third-, and fourth-year students can also reach out to Cordero and her team for more information.

Additionally, anyone can sign up for the program’s newsletter.