Taking the leap to attend college is a big step forward for every student, and it’s often an even bigger milestone for first generation (first gen) students and their families. First gen college students — those whose parent(s) do not hold undergraduate degrees — make up a large percentage of today’s college students, yet they may have trouble getting the resources they need to excel. At SEU, we are committed to making the first gen college experience run as smoothly as possible for you and your family.
In honor of the annual National First Generation College Celebration on November 8, we’re dedicating an entire week to recognizing the achievements of our first gen students.
Here are some of our current first gen students’ best advice for thriving at SEU.
When it comes to transitioning to college, your enrollment counselor is a great point person for college preparation. Once at college, your academic advisors will help you schedule the classes that are right for you, and the Student Financial Services office will be available to assist you with any questions you may have.
Josmanni Sanchez (Children, Youth, and Family Ministries, ‘22) shares, “Once I got to SEU, I took advantage of the programs we have in place for first gen students, such as admission counselors and academic advisors. Because of them, I learned how to plan out my four-year degree and know which classes I should take to stay on track for graduation.”
Kayla Ferreira (Intercultural Studies, ‘21) adds, “I knew I wasn’t bothering my admission counselor because she always made herself available and answered my questions thoroughly.”
Another great resource to reach out to is your professors. While our professors are experts in their field, they’re also approachable and truly care about their students.
“All the faculty and staff here at SEU are so supportive of whatever your dreams are,” shares Ferreira. “I knew if I had any questions about academics, I could ask my professor for help and they would grab lunch with me.”
Ashlynn Blakey (Elementary Education, ‘22) adds, “I think the best aspect of college for me was the professors in the Education department. I’m so thankful for how they’ve taught me to view students and the world through a Christian lens.”
While the goal of college is academic learning, your growth as a student shouldn’t stop there. As you grow in independence throughout your time at SEU, your Resident Assistant (RA) will be a valuable peer to reach out to. RAs make up the Residence Life (Res Life) team at Southeastern, and they serve as experienced fellow students who you can reach out to about everything from your mental and emotional health to spiritual growth.
When sharing about her experience at SEU, Emma Stravers (Language, Culture, and Trade, ‘23) explains how Res Life has played a huge role in her success. “The Res Life program at Southeastern is incredible. As a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect from college, but my RA was always available to answer my questions, invite me to events, or just say ‘Hi.’ Because of her, I felt so supported coming in.”
In Kayla Ferreira’s recently completed School of Honors thesis, she studied spiritual formation in first-generation students. Ferreira shares, “I discovered that discipleship and small groups are extremely beneficial, and they’ve been influential in my own life— knowing that I have a support system behind me.”
Indeed, it’s important to be involved in communities that support and push you toward growth and well-being in college. One of the ways that Southeastern is actively involved in fostering these communities is through SEU Groups, small groups led both by student leaders and faculty. From interest groups to Bible studies, there’s bound to be a group for you!
Student Success Portal
With these tips and the support of your fellow SEU students and faculty, we’re here to ensure that you walk across the graduation stage and accept your college diploma!
Hear more first gen stories!
Be on the lookout this week for more first gen stories on social media @seuniversity —and be sure to share your own!
SEU One Day — First Generation Experience — November 12, 2021
To help our next class of first gen students feel right at home at SEU, we’re hosting a One Day visit event designed just for the first gen experience. Sign up here.
Article by Madi Schaaf, Student Writer