Feature

‘First Generation Thursday’ teaches students college skills

At Kirkwood there is a program that recognizes first-generation students and helps them learn important skills and tricks for college.

What determines a first-generation student? Any student whose parents did not graduate from a four-year college is a first-generation student. That means even if students have older siblings who have graduated from a four-year college, and then they attend college, that makes them a first-generation student. This can be surprising for some students who might not have thought that they were a first-generation student.

There is a national annual celebration for first-generation students for the accomplishments they bring to their communities. Nov. 8 was selected as the date for the annual National First-Generation College Celebration to honor the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The Higher Education Act (“HEA”) emerged out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration. The act was to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in post-secondary and higher education.

Scott Gay, a Trio program advisor, along with Tiffany Starks and Brenda Schafer, who work for the Dean of Students office, have been running the First-Generation program for the last two years.

The question according to the program is, “How can we, here at Kirkwood, better serve first-generation students?” So, to answer that question they started First-Generation Thursdays to welcome college students for conversation, networking and learning about resources that Kirkwood has to offer.

The meetings in Cedar Hall on Thursdays are held once or twice a month where students can hear different guest speakers who can answer questions.

Going to college for the first time can be overwhelming, as Gay would say, “You don’t know what you don’t know and things can be confusing as a first-generation college student.” He also stated, “I would like students to know that there are people here who care about their success, that if something is confusing, you’re not alone.”

Knowing that there is help can make one’s time at Kirkwood that much better and having resources like this can make all the difference. So, first-generation students who want to learn more can check out their schedule on the Kirkwood Events page and attend an event.

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