Best Resources for First-Gen Success

Hello reader! Are you a First-Gen college student? More than 50% of first-year students this year at PSU are! Last week was First-Gen week at Portland State. It’s a dedicated week of events and activities targeted toward first-gen students — but all are welcome! 

A quick primer on why celebrating and supporting first-gen students is so important: First-Gen, also known as First Generation, are students who are the first in their immediate family to attend college. It can be very difficult to navigate a university experience when you don’t have the necessary tools beforehand, whether it be funds to pay for your education or knowledge about how to survive a 100+ person class. And this is where PSU can help! Below I’ve compiled a few resources that the university offers to assist in making your college experience as stress-free as possible. So even though First-Gen week has ended, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the extra help you need all year round!

Academic Support

Everyone knows that college level classes can be difficult — for first-gen students and others alike. Anyone can benefit from academic support! For example, there’s the Writing Center and the Learning Center. 

  • The Writing Center: The Writing Center is a free university service that provides help for students who struggle with writing assignments, graduate-level writing included. The center offers step-by-step guides as well as other important writing tips on their website. The Writing Center is located in Cramer Hall 188 and is open Monday through Thursday. You can also make online appointments  Monday through Friday. More information is available on the Writing Center webpage: 
  • The Learning Center: Similar to the Writing Center, the Learning Center is a free university service that provides support for students in need of a variety of assistance. Some of what the center offers include: tutoring, academic coaching, testing services, and advice to help you succeed in a college environment and beyond. This can be extremely helpful to anyone, from budding first-years to graduate students. The Learning Center is located on the second floor of the PSU Millar Library, and they are open every day of the week (save for Saturdays). These same hours apply if you decide to schedule an appointment online. The Learning Center webpage has more information:

Paying for College

Again, this is something that a lot of students on campus struggle with. At PSU 61% of students receive some form of financial aid. That’s a lot of people! Tuition can certainly be expensive, especially for students attending PSU from out-of-state, as an international student or if they’re funding their education alone. That’s where scholarships come in! There are tons of different scholarships you can apply for to make paying for college a little easier — whether it be through the Scholarship Universe portal or some other third-party site. There are even scholarships provided specifically for first generation students (linked here)! PSU also provides information on scholarships like the President’s Equal Access Scholarship, the Diversity Scholarship Program, and other free & discounted tuition programs. Take advantage of these while you still can! Who can say no to free money?

Connections on Campus

Of course, the educational aspect of college is just the half of it. Many people come to PSU and other universities in order to meet and connect with new people. Sometimes it’s just good to have a support network to make life a little easier for you. Well you’re in luck, because PSU offers many specific support services in order to make life on campus much easier (or more fun)! Programs like Empower and Ganas serve to help first-generation Asian & Pacific Islander students and Latino/a students transitioning to PSU, respectively. There’s also the Multicultural Retention Services, which serve to assist incoming students. To focus on less academically-targeted services, there’s also many clubs, activities, and resource centers available on campus. No matter what you’re interested in, you’re sure to find a group of fellow students who share your passions. There’s a lot here, so don’t be afraid to look around!

That’s it! There’s more I could talk about, but we’d be here all day if I did. At the end of the day it’s always best to do your own research to find the resources that best fit your circumstances. And as always, be sure to use the resources available to you! They’re free, and they only serve to make college more accessible for all. 

Audria Oakes is a second-year at PSU. She loves to draw, write, cook, and spend time with her newly adopted kitten. 



, ,