Resources for First-Gen Undergraduate Students

Welcome to UC Santa Cruz!

Congratulations! You've worked hard to get here and we want to ensure that you 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 by watching our video, compiled by graduating UC Santa Cruz students sharing their stories and reflecting on their college experience. They offer suggestions, tips, and advice, with a particular emphasis on that first year. Read what they found most helpful in successfully making the transition from high school to college in our Cultural Transitions Booklet.

Top 5 Tips

Things we recommend you do (compiled by UC Santa Cruz first-gen students for first-gen students):

  1. Engage! 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 morstudents-eop.jpge at Student Organization Advising & Resources (SOAR). Or you can get involved with student governance through the Student Union Assembly. 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: Chicanx/Latinx Resource Center
* Lionel Cantú Queer Resource Center
* Women's Center

  1. Stay on top of your academics! Everyone comes to UC Santa Cruz from different high schools and with different backgrounds. We get that. Successful students will take advantage of the academic resources that are available. And, get this, they are all free!
student in bookstore* 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 as well as 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 the ACE learning community.
* Career Center - Discover your passion. Explore career alternatives. Get help determining career choices with a given major. Attend a workshop or career fair. Use Handshake to find a job or internship.
* Study Away - travel and learn. Our Study Abroad office provides advice for first-gen students wanting to explore new places, while also gaining academic credit.
* University Library – provides print and electronic books and serials. Their reserve books service can save you money on textbooks. They provide research assistance; and offer computing, printing, and scanning services. The reservable study rooms provide a safe and quiet study space.
  1. 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).
  2. Get help with basic needs! Slug Support, located within the Dean of Students Officeoffers emergency housing, financial assistance, and other support services. The Dean of Students Office will also assist with access to food through their food pantry and help applying for CALFRESH! UC Santa Cruz also has a Basic Needs Initiative, which includes the Cowell Coffee Shop, Swipes for Slugs, and workshops such as "Cooking on a Budget". UC Santa Cruz also has a housing registry, and a list of community rentals for off-campus housing. 

  3. students near east fieldStay healthy! The UC Santa Cruz Student Health Center has a full-service health clinic with a wide range of medical services including lab, x-ray, pharmacy, dental, and optometry support. They offer confidential health screenings, counseling and psychological services (CAPS), and numerous health outreach and promotion (SHOP) programs. 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 stunning views of the Monterey Bay.

For other resources that first-gen students recommend (though not UC Santa Cruz endorsed), check 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.