First Gen at Illinois

Being the first in your family to attend college is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are delighted that you have chosen to attend Illinois!

At this point in your educational journey, you likely had to independently navigate an extensive college admissions process to arrive on campus. It is that type of hard work, dedication, and resiliency that will ultimately help propel you toward your goal of graduation.

Now that you have officially joined the University of Illinois family, we want you to know you’re not alone. This website serves as a shared virtual space to support First-Gen student success. You can find information about various campus resources, events, and even a First-Gen campus directory!

Who is a first-generation student at Illinois?

The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign defines first-generation as “neither parent nor guardian have earned at least a bachelor degree” (Source: Campus Profile Glossary, Division of Management Information). According to the Center for First-Generation Student Success fifty-six percent of students identify as first-generation (pdf). Still, many need to be made aware of their status, given their unfamiliarity with the concept.

Here at Illinois, first-generation students are diverse in several ways. They possess an array of socio-economic classes, races, ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, faiths, sexual identities, politics, etc. Although first-generation students are often quite academically skilled and contribute in many ways to our campus community, navigating the web of college policies, procedures, terminology, and expectations can be a challenge. Unlike continuing-generation students, when faced with those difficulties first-generation students need access to campus resources, information, and support which their families may not be able to provide.

This website empowers first-generation students with the resources, knowledge, and support network they need to navigate the University of Illinois successfully.

Join the First-Gen campus directory!

The directory is aimed at creating a centralized place online where the First-Gen community can locate mentors who also identify as First-Generation.

First-Gen Forward Institution logo for the Center for First-Generation Student Success


First Scholars Elevate Potential logo with blue, green, yellow gradient dots arcing to right