First-Generation College Students

The term “first-generation college student” means different things to different people. Here at Ohio State, our definition refers to students whose parents have not completed a four-year degree. (Even if your siblings went to college!)

Being a first-gen student is something to be proud of! There are a lot of other students, as well as many staff members and faculty, on campus who are also first-gen. We’re glad you’re here! 

Whether you are a new incoming student, returning for another year, or transferring in from another campus or university, the Student Life Center for Belonging and Social Change is here to offer you a home away from home.

For additional information about programs and services, please contact Ari Grubaugh.

First-Gen Empowerment Series

If you are new to Ohio State, or even if you have been here for a while, you might be both excited and a bit overwhelmed with all the new experiences that college offers. 

No matter where you are in your journey, you don’t have to go it alone! The Center for Belonging and Social Change hosts the First-Gen Empowerment Series, which offers weekly workshops designed to help first-generation college students get familiar with college in general and Ohio State specifically, connect to university resources, find community, and develop strategies to thrive here at Ohio State and beyond! Our primary focus is to empower you in continuing to achieve your goals!

The First-Gen Empowerment Series is offered in the Center for Belonging and Social Change, which is located on the 1st floor of the Ohio Union. Sessions are held 6 - 7 p.m. on Thursdays during Autumn and Spring semesters. Many sessions are also approved for First Year Success Series, STEP Professional Development Co-Curriculars, and Standards of Excellence with Sorority and Fraternity Life.

Spring 2024 Meeting Dates

January 11 - How to Study Abroad: Getting Started with Global Education (Approved for STEP)

January 18 - Funding your Future: Navigating Financial Aid and FAFSA Essentials (Approved for FYSS and STEP)

January 25 - Funding your Future: Navigating Financial Aid and FAFSA Essentials (Approved for FYSS and STEP)

February 1 - Advancing Your Academic Journey: Exploring Research Opportunities with Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry (Approved for FYSS and STEP)

February 8 - Being an Engaged Citizen: Voting and Civic Involvement with OSU Votes (Approved for FYSSSTEP, and SOE)

February 15 - Unlocking Opportunities: Navigating Internships for Academic and Professional Success (Approved for FYSSSTEP, and SOE)

February 22 - Staying Safe While Having Fun: Strategies to Party Smart (Approved for FYSSSTEP, and SOE)

February 29 - First-Gen Empowerment: Navigating Success in College with Dennis Learning Center (Approved for FYSSSTEP, and SOE)

March 7 - Your Best First Impression: Résumés and Cover Letters with Buckeye Careers (Approved for FYSS and SOE)

March 21 - How to Ace Your Interview: Strategies for Interviewing with Buckeye Careers (Approved for FYSS and SOE)

March 28 - Financial Literacy (Approved for FYSS and SOE)

April 4 - Eating for Mental Health (Approved for FYSS and SOE)

April 11 - Safe(r) Sex Education (Approved for SOE)

April 18 - Stress Management for Finals Week (Approved for SOE)

Fall 2023 Meeting Dates
  1. August 31 - Welcome to OSU: The Basics of College
  2. September 7 - Class is in Session: Understanding Classes, Instructors, and Office Hours

  3. September 14 - Finding your People: Getting Involved at OSU 

  4. September 21 - Making Time for What Matters: Finding Balance in College

  5. September 28 - From Surviving Class to Thriving in Class: Learning, Studying, and Academic Support

  6. October 5 - New Year, New Housing: Navigating the Move Off Campus

  7. October 19 - The Best of What’s Around: Resources at Ohio State and Beyond! 

  8. October 26  - It’s Time to Pick Classes Again Already? Choosing Courses, Majors, and Minors

  9. November 2 - What’s a Co-Pay Anyway: Understanding Health Insurance

  10. November 9 - Thriving as a First Gen College Student: Recognizing Your Values and Strengths

  11. November 16 - You Do Belong Here: Beating Imposter Syndrome

  12. November 30 - The Final Stretch of the Semester: Preparing for Finals

Resources and Support

When you're the first in your immediate family to work toward a four-year degree, you might realize that there are some things you “didn’t know that you didn’t know” because there was no one to guide you. Ohio State has many resources that can help first-gen college students (and continuing-generation students too) learn new skills to help you thrive in college.

Buckeyes First

Buckeyes First supports first-generation student success by providing access, information and education to Buckeyes who are first-gen students. Services include:

  •  Manages a list of Ohio State services related to academic resources, social and emotional support, career resources, student orgs, and family resources

  • Buckeyes First Living-Learning Community - Provides first-gen students with the opportunity to build a deeper sense of community with others who hold this same identity in a campus residential setting

  • Kessler Scholar Program - Provides first-gen students a $2,000 experiential learning scholarship; advising and coaching support; academic, professional and leadership development; financial aid assistance and resources; and contact with program staff for referral and coordinated care with campus partners.

  • Buckeyes First Scholars Program - Supports first-gen student success across their entire academic journey through:

    • Success coaching, workshops, social events, tutoring, and supplemental instruction

    • Contact with program staff for referral and coordinated care with campus partners

    • An early arrival program

Student Organizations

Student orgs for first-gen college students include:

College Knowledge

First Year Experience

The First Year Experience (FYE) website provides a glossary of terms to know, FAQs for first-year students, and helpful resources for first-year students.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) offers several helpful online modules on topics related to developing a growth mindset, conquering procrastination, time management, setting goals, and managing stress in a healthy way.

Dennis Learning Center

The Dennis Learning Center (DLC) offers courses, coaching, workshops, videos, and online resources designed to help foster student success. 

DLC offers free one-on-one academic coaching appointments for Ohio State students. Trained in learning and motivation strategies, Academic Coaches help students examine academic strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies that lead to success.

DLC offers 7 elective courses, which include: Online Learning Strategies and Skills; Learning and Motivation Strategies for College Success; Critical Thinking and Collaboration in Online Learning; Student Tech for Academic Success; Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner; Academic Success Strategies for International Students; and Procrastinate No More!

DLC offers workshops for First Year Success Series, STEP, and by request. 

Check out DLC's online resources and the DLC YouTube channel for helpful resources on topics such as managing stress, time management, avoiding procrastination, note-taking techniques, study tips, test-taking strategies, and more. 

Campus Coalition: First Scholars Institution

With our commitment to supporting first-gen college students using evidence-based best practices, The Ohio State University is nationally recognized as a First Scholars Institution, by NASPA's Center for First-Generation Student Success. The Student Life Center for Belonging and Social Change partners with students, organizations, offices, and departments across Ohio State to celebrate and support the well-being and success of first-generation college students. Key areas of first-gen student support include the Office of Student Life, Office of Academic Affairs (OAA), Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), Buckeyes First, First Year Experience, and the Young Scholars Program.