Resources for First-Gen Students

Welcome to UC Santa Cruz and congratulations on being the first in your family to go to college! You've worked hard and overcome many challenges to get here. We want you to succeed. We are here to help.

As a first-generation student, we know you have questions. This website is an effort to provide some answers and, more importantly, point you in the right direction, sharing links to resources you will need to successfully navigate campus life.

Learn more about our video, compiled by UC Santa Cruz seniors sharing their first-gen stories and experiences as well as suggestions, tips, and advice on successfully navigating campus and the importance of the first year.

Top 5 things you need to know and do (compiled by UC Santa Cruz first-gen students for first-gen students):

1. Get engaged! There are over 100 student organizations here at UC Santa Cruz! From Greek life to the Balloon Art Brigade and Rainbow Theater. Join an organization or create your own. Learn more through Student Organization Advising & Resources (SOAR).

UC Santa Cruz also has six student success resource centers:

* African American Resource and Cultural Center
* American India Resource Center
* Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center
* El Centro: Chicano/Latino Resource Center
* Lionel Cantú Queer Resource Center
* Women's Center

Or get involved with student governance through the Student Union Assembly.

2. Stay on top of your academics! Everyone comes to UC Santa Cruz from different high schools and with different backgrounds. We get that. There's help if you need it. Seek it out early. It's free!

* Learning Support Services (LSS) - provides students with a wide range of academic support services including tutoring and Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI), study skills workshops, and organized study groups.

* Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) - provides a variety of academic and personal support programs to improve retention and academic success for first-generation college students from low-income and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

* Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students (STARS) - for students 25 years or older, veterans, parents, or former foster youth, STARS provides advising, workshops, and a community of support.

* Disability Resource Center (DRC) - with a focus on equal educational access, the DRC assists students with temporary or permanent disabilities, providing accommodations and support services, and a supportive community.

* Engaging Education (e2) - with a social justice mission, e2 is a student-initiated outreach and retention program focused on student engagement for (but not exclusive to) students of color.

* Academic Excellence (ACE) Program - an academic support program for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students dedicated to increasing diversity. Join ACE learning community.

* Career Center - find a job or internship. Discover your passion. Explore career alternatives. Get help determining career choices with a given major.

* Study Abroad advice for first-gen students.

* University Library – provides print and electronic books and serials; a reserve books service (save money on textbooks); research assistance; computing, printing, and scanning; reservable study rooms; and safe, quiet study spaces.

3. Know your finances! Learn about and stay on top of the terminology, types of financial aid that are available (including private scholarships), dates and deadlines, policies and appeals. Here's a website with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Also, take advantage of the help around campus if you are tight on money! Slug Support offers emergency housing, financial assistance and other supportive resources. Here at UC Santa Cruz we also have our own housing registry, check out community rentals for off campus housing! Dean of Students also provides assistance with food access with it's food pantry and other resources for food like CALFRESH!

4. Stay healthy! The UC Santa Cruz Student Health Center provides high-quality health care with a wide range of medical services including lab, x-ray, pharmacy, dental, and optometry support; confidential health screenings; counseling and psychological services, and numerous health outreach and promotion workshops. Also, don't go hungry. Slug Grub is an android app that allows you to see what the dining halls are offering today and Slug Support can provide food, temporary housing, and financial support in case of emergency.

5. Get moving! The Office of Physical Education, Recreation, and Sports (OPERS) offers multiple programs including boating, intermural sports, scuba, wilderness orientation...and more. Membership is free for registered students during the academic year. The Wellness Center has classes, cardio equipment, weights TRX training zones, an outdoor lap pool, and "excellent views of the Monterey Bay".

Other resources first-gen students recommend (though not all are UC Santa Cruz endorsed). Check them out.

CollegeConfidential for UC Santa Cruz: Here's a resource to find out what life at UC Santa Cruz is like from current or past students. Wonder what the different colleges are like? CollegeConfidential has a forum discussion on just that topic.

I'm First: an online community for first-gen students with resources, suggestions, and tips.


And, see the Facebook page: Empowering First-Generation College Students.