Students who are first in their families to attend college are known as “first-generation” students. You may have already figured out that college is a complex ecosystem with your own terms, expectations, and culture. It’s basically a whole new world. It can be intimidating for anyone to come into this new world, but maybe even more so for first-gen students. 

Fortunately, Miami has many resources and professionals available to ensure you have everything you need to be successful in your time here. This holistic support system gears students toward mentorship, career exploration, financial aid, and more.

Miami’s First-generation initiative lives in Miami’s Student Success Center. Student Success serves as a go-to resource for everything, from complex academic questions to simple problem solutions. 

We asked Senior Assistant Director Ashley Hopkins, what advice she might have for first-generation students. 

“The most important advice I can offer first-gen students is to use your resources, ask questions, and make connections,” said Ashley. “A great place to get started is by exploring the Miami First Generation Student Website, which is loaded with tons of helpful information and ways to become involved. Meeting with a Student Success Center staff member and joining the Miami Firsts student organization are also good steps for accessing resources, finding answers to your questions, and joining the first-gen community at Miami. And, don’t forget to believe in yourself!”

Join the Org

The Miami Firsts Student Organization allows first-generation students the opportunity to find a community and build connections through shared experiences. This student org also focuses on a smooth transition into college life, promoting yourself, and encouraging lifelong skills. 

Live with Other First-Gen Students

The Miami Firsts Student Affinity Community is a great option for on-campus students to live with other first-generation students. There are specific programming and professional and career development opportunities offered through this community as well. 

Connect with Faculty/Staff Allies

The Ally Directory is a networking program for students to connect with faculty or staff who can offer understanding and support. Many of these individuals are first-generation students themselves. The list of allies includes staff contact information and a list of other university involvement, so you can find someone whose interests align with yours!


Finally, you can always pick up some first-gen swag at the Student Success Center located in Nellie Craig Walker Hall, Room 112. There are lapel pins, stickers, clings, and more. Show your pride and support for your Miami First-Generation community!

Kenzie Abodeely | Class of 2024