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First-Gen Families

If you are the first in your family to attend college, your family may have a lot of questions. Families are an essential part of the first-generation college experience and we want to ensure they are fully equipped with the tools and knowledge to support you during your journey. Encourage your family stay connected with the university by getting involved with the Office of Family Engagement and joining the Tennessee Family Association. Furthermore, the following tips may be shared with families and supporters as they assist you in navigating the collegiate experience.

  • Listen and learn about your student’s plans for college.
  • Express your support, but don’t be afraid to share your perspectives in a non-judgmental way.
  • If time and finances permit, make plans to visit your student (maybe during Family Weekend and Family Appreciation Week). This will be a great opportunity for you to learn about the campus, resources, and opportunities for your student.
  • Take a proactive approach to learning about the college process for both you and your student.
  • Be flexible and understanding. Your student will be embarking on a new chapter, and this will come with change. Remember, your support means a lot.
  • Take time to learn about financial aid and the different types of financial assistance available (pg. 12 & 13).
  • Encourage your student to access university support services and resources as needed.
  • Please ask us questions. We are here to assist you and your student(s) during this transition.
  • Rest assured that your student may be first, but they are not alone.

How to be successful in college?

Being successful in high school does not always mean that the transition to college will be easy. While there are some habits and strategies from high school that you can use to help you be successful in college, you should also expect to develop new ways of studying, working, and thinking. It is important to be willing to adopt new success strategies, listen to the advice of others, seek out feedback, and most importantly take advantage of available campus resources like tutoring and supplemental instruction.

Success in college requires you to:

  • Take control of your own education and become an active learner;
  • Get to know your professors; they want you to succeed!
  • Attend class regularly; arrive on time and don’t leave early;
  • Create support systems and reach out for help;
  • Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound); and be willing to learn and grow (this is what we call adopting a growth mindset).