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10 Great Colleges for First Generation Students

Being the first from your family to make a run at college can be both exciting and stressful. Luckily, many colleges recognize that challenge, and some are especially helpful. Let's look at 10 schools that are out to make your journey as a first-generation student easier.

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California State University - San Marcos

In 2006, this school started the Guaranteed Admissions Program with the San Marcos school district. This program ensured acceptance to first-gen students who met GPA and course requirements. It has evolved to include additional school districts and partnerships with different agencies. CSU - San Marcos offers several other relevant programs and resources as well, including the Educational Opportunity Program designed for first-generation students from low-income households.

University of California - Berkeley

This school's Incentive Awards Program (IAP) grants up to $32,000 in scholarship money to low-income first-gen students. You'll have to prove you have good grades and leadership abilities, but the awards and services you can receive are well worth your hard work.

Cornell University

Some multicultural students at Cornell work as interns to recruit first-generation freshmen, as well as students from other underrepresented groups. In addition, the school's McNair Scholars Program prepares low-income first-gen students for doctoral studies through research and related opportunities.

Yale University

As of 2013, first-gen students made up roughly 12.1% of Yale's freshman class. The school's admissions page offers advice for first-gen applicants, as well as videos from current first-gen students who discuss challenges they've faced and how to overcome them.

Colorado State University

In 1984, Colorado State University (CSU) created the First Generation Award to motivate first-gen students to attend college. CSU has many faculty members who were once first-gen students. These teachers are part of the school's First Generation Faculty Initiative, and they're dedicated to the success of first-gen students.

College of Idaho

This school received the Walmart College Success Award in 2010, which resulted in $100,000 for scholarships and academic activities targeted to first-generation Latino students. An additional $20,000 in scholarships for first-gen Latino students was gifted by the Wells Fargo Foundation in 2010.

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University of Cincinnati

This university hosts a Gen-1 theme house specifically designed for first-generation students, and residents can take advantage of tutoring, counseling and mentoring services. In addition, all first-year students take a college success class that covers time management skills and research techniques. Professors who were once first-generation students themselves have Gen-1 stickers on their doors, and current first-gen students are encouraged to speak with them.

Bay Path College

About 70% of students at this school are the first in their families to pursue a college degree, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The Transfer Achievement scholarship at Bay Path College is offered to first-generation students. In addition, the school helps first-gen freshmen transition to their sophomore years through mentoring and research opportunities.

College of Saint Scholastica

This school's TRiO program is designed to help first-gen students from low-income homes, as well as disabled students. Participants in the program can received free tutoring, career counseling and personal counseling. Advisors can also help participating students locate and apply for scholarships.

University of Michigan

In 2007, students at the University of Michigan created a student group called First-Generation College Students @ Michigan. This group hosts regular meetings, and its website includes links to scholarship opportunities and academic resources designed for first-generation students. It also hosts events, like fireside discussions with professors who were first-gen students themselves.

Want more information? Check out these resources for first-generation students.

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