First-Generation Programs

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 Are You a First Generation Student?

If neither of your parents/guardians have a bachelor's degree, then you’re a first-generation (first-gen) student even if you have a sibling who is attending college or graduating ahead of you. As a first-gen student you have what it takes to succeed, but sometimes financial, family, academic or work pressures can make the first-gen student experience particularly challenging.

There are many UofL faculty and staff who are first-generation college grads and serve as advocates and mentors to our first-gen students. If you're a first-gen faculty or staff member, let us know here!

In the News

UofL Magazine, Summer 2023, On Solid Ground


The online application for the spring 1st UP program is open now. 

Students new to UofL in Fall 2024 will not apply to this program until summer.

The Student Success Center and First Year Experience Office understand the unique challenges and opportunities today’s first-gen students face, and we encourage you to take advantage of one or both of our programs. Click on the links here to learn more about or apply to 1st UP and READY Mentoring.

  • 1st UP Program
    What does it take to be successful in college? That question is answered both inside and outside the classroom, as you take advantage of the many resources and opportunities UofL has to offer. 1st UP is a program that provides community-building socials with other first-gen students, workshops to develop your personal skills & strengths, and one-to-one coaching to help you start off strong. Plus, you can earn completion grants toward your UofL bill!

  • READY Mentoring
    READY Mentoring matches first-generation, first-year students with faculty and staff for one-to-one mentoring in the Student Success Center. Mentors can help ease your transition to college and discuss strategies for success in college and in life. And just like 1st UP, you can earn completion grants toward your UofL bill!

Other Important Connection Points

  • First Year Experience Events & Resources
    Be sure to take advantage of the First Year Experience events (Welcome Week, Winter Welcome and more) and resources, such as the UofL Lingo list and First Year FAQ. There's a lot to do and to learn, and the First Year Experience team wants to make sure you're ready to take advantage of every opportunity have the support you need to de-mystify the ins and outs of college life.
  • TRIO Student Support Services
    TRIO helps low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities achieve a bachelors degree by offering students individual and group advising to foster positive study habits and academic success. They also offer a comfortable learning environment, financial counseling, leadership opportunities, cultural excursions, and academic workshops. Participation is free; learn more by clicking the link above.
  • Generation Cardinal Living-Learning Community
    You can take advantage of an enhanced and personalized learning experience by being part of a themed living community geared specifically toward first-gen students. Meet and take classes with other students who share this identity and gain additional support navigating the college transition. This community is housed in the state-of-the-art New Residence Hall, which will also house the Cultural and Equity Center.
  • Student Success Coordinators
    Student Success Coordinators are here to help you solve problems and develop solutions. Coordinators work collaboratively with faculty and other staff to provide guidance and support if you're experiencing academic, financial or personal difficulties. 
  • First-Generation Student Recognition
    The SSC offers a special recognition item for every first-generation student based on your academic year. Graduating seniors will receive an honor cord, which is a mark of distinction you may wear at Commencement and hold onto as a keepsake.