A first-generation college student is an individual whose parents did not receive an education higher than high school. This individual is the first of their family to attend a four-year university. Currently, 17% of the undergraduate class at UC Berkeley are first-generation students. Navigating college as a first-generation student is definitely difficult but not impossible. Not having your parents as a resource for college knowledge, first-gens tend to look for outside resources offered by their school. UC Berkeley has great programs to help first-gens transition and navigate through college.
Advisors are people who can help you with all aspects of college, including finances, academics and more. However, they only have a broad sense of these different aspects. Although they are not exactly the top experts, they can guide you to different resources that can help you better if you have specific questions. Nonetheless, going to an advisor is a great way to start.
2. Early Opportunity Program (EOP)
If you are familiar with EAOP in high school, EOP is basically the college version. EOP is geared specifically towards first-generation, low-income and underrepresented college students. The EOP office is located in Room 119 in the César E. Chavez Student Center. You can make appointments in person or by calling (510) 642-7224. EOP provides professional and peer counseling. Along with these services, EOP connects you to different scholarship opportunities. You can also come here to rent iClickers for the semester for FREE!
3. LEAD Center
The LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Advising & Development) Center provides information on how to get involved. Not specific towards first-generation students, LEAD still helps with the social aspects of college. Through LEAD, you can explore and discover clubs and organizations on campus that can help make transitioning to college easier. Finding a community is vital for first-generation students to become more comfortable and confident in a new environment.
4. Student Learning Center (SLC)
The Student Learning Center provides academic support through tutoring. Again, although not specific for first-generation students, the SLC is one of the most utilized programs on campus. Located in the César E. Chavez Student Center, the SLC provides tutoring for subjects for math, sciences, economics, writing and others.
5. Bears For Financial Success
Bears for Financial Success is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that helps fellow bears manage their finances. A lot of college students have great stress over finances and money. Having help from someone who really understands the financial burden many students face makes managing and planning finances easier.
6. Financial Literacy and Economic Justice Conference (FLEJCON)
FLEJCON is an annual conference held at UC Berkeley to give students more sense of their finances and the economy. FLEJCON is perfect for first-generation students to learn more about how to manage and balance their finances. This conference offers great resources and presentations to give everyone a better sense of the money world.
7. UC First-Generation Students
Something first-generation students need to know is that you are NOT ALONE! FirstGen is a great resource to connect all first-generation students all across the UC system. FirstGen features articles from current students, faculty and alumni who are going or have gone through struggles of being a first-generation student.
Learning the ropes of college as a first-generation student is one of the toughest things to do. However, you don't have to do it alone! UC Berkeley, along with many other colleges across the nation, have resources to help make the transition easier and to make college less stressful. Don't be afraid to use these resources, because they can make a difference in your college experience. Give yourself some help and reach out!
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