First Generation Students

students at the arch

1st at the First

Every student comes to college with expectations, but the experience is rarely exactly
what they thought it would be. That’s true whether you’re the first in your family to
attend college, or have siblings or parents who went to college. Every student’s experience is unique. But every student, first in the family or not, was chosen to attend UGA because of their academic record, talents and life experiences. And every student belongs here—especially you.

Please take the time to read the First Generation Handbook (PDF), which will provide you with information about how college works and what to expect at UGA. You’ll learn the most important terms you need to know, the critical resources on campus, academic expectations and some of the changes you will experience.

Also, take a look at our 1st at the First Leadership Institute, an opportunity to meet other first generation students while developing your leadership and professional skills, culminating in 1st at the First Ambassadorships on campus.


UGA Faculty as First-Generation Students

Most students may not think about the paths our faculty took to become teachers at a major university. Many of them were the first in their families to go college, just like you. See what some of our faculty have to say about their journeys to college. You might find you have something in common with your teachers!



Ed Romero, Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Services in the College of Education, was a first-generation college student. His parents were immigrants for Colombia, and Ed had to navigate the college process pretty much on his own.



Mardi Schmiechal, associate professor in Educational Theory and Practice in the College of Education, grew up in a small town with only one stop light. Although her parents did not go to college, Mardi moved to a bigger city where she could take on college as a first generation student.



Rodney Mauricio, professor of genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, was the first in his family to attend a four-year college. His parents were immigrants from the Azores, islands off the coast of Portugal.



Below are some tools to help you navigate your transition to college life at the University of Georgia.


 For More Information

If you would like more information regarding first generation college students or the "1st at the First" program, please contact