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Graduation and Retention Network

  • UofSC first-generation student celebration

First-Generation Students

You've made it to college, and to the University of South Carolina. USC has plenty of experiences, opportunities, and resources to help you find success.

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Welcome from Dr. Sandra Kelly

First-generation students are a wonderful and appreciated part of our USC community. As a first-generation college graduate myself, I know that a university environment can be confusing and challenging but I also know that it can be a wonderful place to be.  I encourage all of you to open yourself to all of the wonderful experiences that you can have here and also reach out to faculty and staff for support when you need it. We are here for you!  

We like to request your assistance in supporting a special group of students. These are our first-generation college students, who are from families where neither parent completed a 4-year college or university degree.

First-generation students are talented, hard-working, and proud to represent their family here. Research shows that these students often have difficulty navigating the bureaucracy and expectations at a university and accessing all of the opportunities and resources that universities such as USC have to offer.  Mentoring for these students is very impactful, as it is for all of our students, but these students are less likely to find a mentor. An easy way to start the conversation with first-generation students is to self-identify to your students either inside or outside of the classroom and discuss some of the challenges that you may have faced.   If you would like a sticker or pin that identifies you as a first-generation college graduate, we encourage you to register and you will be sent the material via regular campus mail. Participation in this outreach is entirely voluntary.


First Forward

The University of South Carolina is honored to be named a First Forward Institution by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrations (NASPA) for our work with first-generation students.

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