First-Generation College Students

The term “First-Generation College Student” means different things to different people. Here at Ohio State, you are considered a first-generation student if neither of your parents earned a four-year degree.

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 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, you might be both excited and a bit overwhelmed. If you have been here for a while, you might be finding that there were some things you “didn’t know that you didn’t know.”

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.

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

Campus Coalition: First-Gen Forward

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, Student Academic Excellence (SAE), Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), Buckeyes First, First Year Experience, and the Young Scholars Program.

Resources and Support

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

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.

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. 

Buckeye OnPace

Buckeye OnPACE is a series of self-guided career modules that can assist you in learning more about yourself and choosing a major(s) and/or career, developing technical and transferrable skills, managing stress, resume writing and interview skills, polishing up on job etiquette, searching for jobs and internships, considering graduate school, transitioning to the workplace, and understanding diversity in the workplace. 

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.