First-Generation Student Information & Resources
Congratulations, and welcome to DePauw University!
If you are “First Gen,” you are blazing a new trail by coming to DePauw! First-generation students are those students whose parent(s) have not completed a college degree. Often, because you and your family haven’t benefited from a long, collegiate history with an institution as unique as DePauw, our university traditions and processes may seem confusing, complicated and even strange. Don’t worry-- we are here to help!
Perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness, and hard work have helped you make it this far. We encourage you to lean into those traits and to remember that it can be helpful to learn from other first-generation students who have come before you. At DePauw, you’ll meet other, trail-blazing First Gen students, faculty and staff. They can share what worked for them and provide perspective and insight on what can help you, as you work towards attaining your degree.
First-generation students often experience a range of feelings about being the first in their family to attend college and/or to complete their college degree. Whatever you are feeling is normal and to be expected. Talking to other students, faculty and staff can help.
We look forward to supporting you this academic year!
A total of 100+ first-generation college students joined us in the Class of 2026.
Below we featured a small group who gathered in August during move-in day.
Class of 2026 Overview
Class of 2025 Overview
|Asian or Asian American||4|
|Black or African American||7|
Bienvenidos nuevos estudiantes!
What It's Like to Be A First-Generation College Student is a YouTube video featuring three first-generation students discussing what the "first-gen" label means to them (2:01).
What It's Like To Be A First Generation College Student
Michelle Obama's Inspiring Message to First-Generation Students is a YouTube video featuring words of encouragement and motivation to first-gen students from our former First Lady (and first-generation student) Michelle Obama (2:23).
Michelle Obama's inspiring message to first gen college students
How students of color confront imposter syndrome is a TED talk in which Dena Simmons discusses how we might create a classroom that makes all students feel proud of who they are (10:20).
TED Talk | "How students of color confront impostor syndrome" | Dena Simmons
National Resources, Articles & Websites
At the First-Generation Foundation webpage, students can connect organizations and resources dedicated to helping students succeed.
The Field Guide for First-Generation College Students helps students embrace and navigate the college application process.
The First-Generation College Student Guide provides resources for navigating college including the admission process, applying for financial aid, and scholarship information.
What to Know as a First-Generation College Student is a helpful article by U.S. News and World Report on how to navigate college as a first-generation college student.
Online Guide for First-Generation College Students provides first-generation college students with the information and resources they need to get their college journeys started on the right foot.
According to The Postsecondary National Policy Institute (PNPI), first-generation undergraduates face a myriad of barriers in their pursuit to become the first in their families to graduate college.
‘There was this strange disconnect with my family, with other students, and with my own goals. It made me really frustrated like I wanted to quit. I felt like I was burning out.’
Read the full article at Melmagazine.com
Nearly a third of undergraduate students in the United States are first-generation, defined as those who have no parent with a bachelor’s degree. Find out more at EAB.com here.
While first-generation students are just as intelligent and motivated as their non-first-generation peers, they tend to lack some of the resources and knowledge necessary to navigate the complex college system. Students without a college-savvy adult to guide them can struggle to apply to college and graduate on time.
Posted on Jul. 21, 2020 | By Michiale Schneider, Attigo Senior Trainer, B.Ed., M.Ed. AFC®