We strive to help students and parents with every aspect of their future planning, but we are especially passionate about First Generation College Students as they break the mold and learn the ropes for the first time. Many First Gens don’t know what all they need to do to prepare for college and won’t be able to rely on their parents guidance as most students will.
There are so many opportunities available to all high school students as they prepare for college, and there are even MORE resources for First Generation Students. To make sure you are as informed as possible, we have worked directly with Dr. Sameer Pande of Enrollment Management & Student Services at Auburn University at Montgomery to address the most commonly questioned topics and provide useful insight into the scholarship process for a First Gen Student!
What Do I Need to Know About Applying for Scholarships?
Apply early and keep checking your email! Also, take advantage of the residual ACT. The residual ACT is free to AUM students and it allows them to improve their scores which in turn can improve their scholarship package.
*A residual ACT is taken on the campus of the school you are planning to attend and costs the student zero dollars to take. One of the many benefits of this BONUS opportunity to take the dreaded standardized test is not having to give up your Saturday morning since the tests are typically held on weekdays. Also, the scores will go directly to the school where you took the residual test, so you don’t have to worry about paying to have your scores sent when you apply. The catch is that the test score can only be used at the university where it was taken: It must “reside” there. Also, athletes are not permitted to use this means of testing for acceptance.
Are There First-Generation Scholarships Available?
You can always apply for outside scholarships. There are organizational and membership scholarship foundations that provide scholarships specifically for First Generation Students, so make sure you do your research. Also, ask your high school guidance counselor if she knows of any scholarship opportunities for First Gens!
Some colleges offer additional merit scholarships dedicated to First Generation Students. AUM has nine scholarships available to all freshmen, including First-Generation students. They are merit-based and take into consideration High School GPA and standardized test scores. Freshman scholarships range from $1,000 to $10,000 a year. For more information visit https://www.aum.edu/admissions/freshman-scholarships/
The questions don’t stop once you are admitted. This is ALL new territory so you are likely to have a lot of questions about navigating through college life once you are on campus. To help with that, each school has a resource center or program in place to ensure students have access to everything they need to know.
AUM has a number of resources available to their First-Generation Students.
- The Warhawk Academic Success Center provides success advising that will help students build the skills they need to excel in their coursework. They have financial counselors who can help students navigate the world of paying for college. AUM also has two free tutoring centers for students to use. They can schedule two sessions each week for every class they are taking.
- The Experiential Education and Engagement Center (EEEC)’s purpose is to help students become more engaged and connected to campus and community. The EEEC is an on-campus resource that works to find new experiential learning opportunities for students, focusing mainly on service-learning, undergraduate research, and internships.
- Finally, as students begin to think about their future after college, the Career Development Center will work with them to write a resume, learn how to interview, and find internships.
Tips for Communicating and Seeking Help
- Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself!
- There is nothing wrong with being confused or stressed out.
- You are not alone.
- Let the people on your academic team know how you are doing.
- Faculty and staff are not only here to help, but they want to help.