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First in the Family: Thriving as a First-Generation College Student

First Generation at ACC

What does it mean to be a first-generation college student?

For many colleges / universities, it is the federal definition officially developed for TRiO program acceptance and to determine eligibility for Pell Grants which states first-generation students come from families where their parents / guardians did not complete a 4-year college degree.

How to Thrive as a First-Generation Student

Being a first-generation college student is an awesome accomplishment and can present some challenges. Often, you (and your family) are navigating college processes for the very first time and it can feel like learning a new language. Understanding higher education terminology and procedures can feel daunting, but it doesn't have to.

At ACC, we offer support to help you find your path and Move Mountains toward your goals. From admissions to graduation and beyond, we're here to help!

ACC Resources

The best way to succeed is to use the resources available to you and ask questions. Your success is our goal, so let us know how we can help. But, if you're new to this college thing, we know you may not know where to start. We've got your back. Here are some resources at ACC that will help you achieve your dreams:

  • Admissions: Need help finding the right degree, certificate, or Pathway? Want someone to walk you through the admissions application? Or maybe you just have questions about ACC and college in general. Our Admissions team members are experts at assisting students who want to get started at ACC.
  • Advising: Our Academic Advisors can lead you through registration and keep you on track to graduation. Your advisor is your guide at ACC and will help you create a plan that works for you and your goals.
  • Career Services: Our Career Services team can help you determine your career goals, build / polish your resume, and find that dream job.
  • Cashier's Office: The buck stops's where you pay for college. Pay your bill, set up a payment plan, or just ask questions about your payment options.
  • Concurrent Enrollment: Get college credits while you're in high school through our Concurrent Enrollment program. Talk to your high school counselor to find out what courses are available at your school.
  • Dean of Students Office: ACC's Dean of Student Office is here to support you with counseling, the ACC food pantry, the student emergency fund, and additional student support services.
  • Disability Access Services: Get the accommodations you need with the assistance of our Disability Access Services team.
  • Financial Aid: The experts on our Financial Aid team can assist you with filling out the FAFSA, understanding your aid award, finding work study jobs, and finding scholarships.
  • Instructors: Instructors have office hours every week. This is the time where you can build relationships that continue into your future. If you have questions about course material or just want to chat. Instructors are a great resource! Look for their office hours in your syllabus.
  • Library & Learning Commons: Find resources, study rooms, tutoring spaces, books, reference materials, technology, and more at ACC's Library & Learning Commons.
  • Records and Enrollment Services: Get your transcript reviewed, change your major, apply to graduate, remove holds, and more with the help of our Records and Enrollment Services staff.
  • Student Life: Get involved on campus by attending student life events, joining a club and/or organization, creating your own club, or get involved with ACC's Student Government Association.
  • Testing Center: Take a placement test in English, math, biology, Spanish or French; get your GED; take a program specific test; or arrange testing accommodations with ACC's Testing Center.
  • Transfer Services: Get help learning about your transfer options once you graduate from ACC. Don’t wait until it is time to transfer to meet with them come by and have a chat now to make sure you are on the right path.
  • TRIO Student Support Services: This brand-new (to ACC) program will help provide services for first-generation students to help them on their path through college.
  • Tutoring: From the Academic Support Center and Biology Study Lab to the Math Support Center and Writing Center, ACC offers free tutoring services to help students Move Mountains.

Tips for Success

Going to college is a huge step toward a better future. Make sure you ask questions and take advantage of the services, activities, and expertise that are available to you...for free! Part of the college experience is about connecting with your community, finding like-minded people, exploring new areas of interest, learning about new perspectives, and growing as a person. The more you put into your experience and challenge yourself, the more rewarding the journey will be and things your learn. Prepare for your future today!

Sound Off

If you are / were a first-generation college student, we want to hear from you. Tell us about your experience and be a part of our First-Generation Spotlight. Help the first-generation students to come.