PA Talk: First-Generation College Students

Advice for First-Generation Students

By: Jessica Ramirez

Hello people! My name is Jessica Ramirez and I am the first one in my family to go to college. It’s a pretty big accomplishment of mine, but it can be very tricky going into something that you don’t have much knowledge on. 

So, here are a few ways to make the transition not as daunting:

  • Expect a change from high school to college. College might seem easier since we have shorter classes and more time to study, but it can actually be really hard to manage all your responsibilities. You really need to put all of your time and effort into your classes. My suggestion is to plan your week out in advance to get an idea of what you need to get done.
  • Set lots of time for studying. You’re going to have a lot of school work and it can quickly add up as the school year continues, especially during midterms and finals. It’s good to be ahead of the game while you can.
  • Reach out to people!!! Especially upperclassmen; they can show you around school and talk to you about their experience in classes or around campus. I also recommend making friends with students in your major. They will most likely be in the same class as you or have already taken the class, so they can definitely help you out.
  • Don’t be shy in asking ANY questions. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Make sure you have a good understanding of whatever it may be that you are unsure of. It’s so much better to be safe than sorry. There are lots of people who are here to help you. Ask your professors a billion questions!!! Remember, their job is to help you as much as they can. This is your future. They’re rooting for you to succeed. Side note: Don’t limit yourself to solely asking questions to your professor. Ask your advisors, financial office, admissions staff, etc.. It can be easy to get lost in the world of responsibilities, so be sure you understand.
  • Don’t be discouraged. You may not get the grade you wanted or the class you were looking forward to, but you are achieving so much by furthering your education. You will reach your goal and it might not go the way you planned for it to go but it will be so worth it towards the end. 

I wish the best of luck to all of my fellow first-generation classmates 


PA Talk is a blog created by Cumberland University’s Presidential Ambassadors covering topics and giving advice that is relevant to the CU student experience. For topic suggestions, email Mattie Jennings at

News / Blog / PA Talk: First-Generation College Students