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Tools and Advice from a First-Generation Student

Updated: May 25

23 years ago, my parents sacrificed everything they knew to come to the United States. With almost nothing in their pocket, they left in search of a better life. Soon enough, they had my twin brother and I and all their hopes and aspirations were installed in us. We blinked and it was time to apply to college. As a first generation student, this was probably one of the most difficult stages of my life. I had no guidance when it came to how to apply to college. No one else in my family had done it, and by this point I had no clue where to even begin. I am only one out of the million of first generation students to come, and with that in my mind I want to do my part in hopefully sharing information that might help others navigate college as a first generation student.

Resources that helped me

Understanding FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA process can be one of the most daunting aspects of the college application process. I knew that my family could not afford to put my twin brother and I through college, so I had to apply for FAFSA, but there were so many questions that my family and I just didn’t know how to answer such as assets or my tax returns. After looking through different websites, I found Understanding FAFSA to be the most useful and easy to understand. With plenty of hyperlinks, it answered my questions in no time. If you have any more questions, you can always contact them at this email address:

Scholarships/College Search

Alongside my confusion for financial aid, I knew that I needed to apply for scholarships and once again, I didn’t know where to look. I was recommended to Niche by my counselor and it offered a lot more than the scholarships I was looking for. I was also able to research majors and what schools in my home state would be the best fit for my career and academic goals. Recently, I have also learned that you can also find information about places to live and how other people rate the different surrounding community.

Further Advice

As I approach my last semester in college there has been plenty of advice that has truly stuck with me and I want to share that with you today!

  • Reach out to your professors. They want to help you succeed!

  • Use your school resources. If you have any questions or concerns, they are there for your disposal.

  • Be proud of yourself. Every step you have taken has led you to this moment.

  • Try new things and step out of your comfort zone.

  • Take care of your mental health, now more than ever.

Know that as a first generation student, you are not alone. There are so many resources available for you to succeed. There are people who want to see you triumph. You will succeed and set the precedent for your family and your future generations.


Find the school that fits you best. Niche. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2023, from

Home. FAFSA. (2023, January 4). Retrieved February 14, 2023, from

Seven tips for first-gen college students from a first-gen college grad. Making Waves. (2022, September 9). Retrieved February 14, 2023, from

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