First-Generation Students

Advice and tips

Mary Dana Hinton

"You represent the hopes and dreams of many in your family and community and are worthy of the opportunities you receive. Work hard. Have faith. Believe in yourself."

Mary Dana Hinton
15th President of CSB (2014-2020)

Kaarin Johnston

"Often our parents don't have insight about the challenges we face; they want us to succeed yet they worry if we have a tough time.... Sometimes we can feel the weight on our shoulders as we carry the dreams of our parents and hopes of our families into the future. Trailblazers do not have to walk alone."

Kaarin Johnston
Theater Professor

Jason Schlude

"Never forget that you are here because you deserve to be." 

Jason Schlude
Associate Professor of Classics

"You're extremely capable of success, and sometimes that means asking for help.  Know that it's ok to fail. It's ok to not know what is going on. Be gentle with yourself too. Just know you are worthy of belonging, and walking across the stage will all be worth it."

Marleny Huerta-Apanco
CSB '17

Michael Kelly

"Everyday may not be good, but there is good in everyday. Being a first generation student brings pride and honor to many, but it can also bring confusion or uncertainty. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Utilize your resources! And above and foremost, enjoy the college experience!"

Michael Kelly
SJU '20


Believe in yourself!

  • You deserve to be here.

Build a support system at CSB/SJU.

  • Find peers, faculty, and staff to mentor and support you.

Use the resources offered.

  • Seek them out and ask questions often.

Get involved but don't overload yourself.

  • Try new things and find what you really enjoy.

Remember why you're here.

  • Go to class.
  • Do your homework and make sure you study. 

Create an organization system. 

  • Find what works for you, whether it be a planner or your phone, and stay organized.

Be proactive about financial assistance.

  • Apply for outside scholarships every year.
  • Say yes to work study.