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Teaching First Generation College Students

Teaching First Generation College Students

The cost of college has increased exponentially in the past twenty years and continues to increase. While some students are fortunate to have financial support, many do not, and all will appreciate any help in navigating the financial strain of affording college. A simple way to ease students’ expenses is by using Open Educational Resources to defray the cost of textbooks as it offers a way to search for free content-specific materials.

Students at University of Georgia developed an impactful document titled Being Not Rich UGA, which can help you understand the complexities of students’ financial struggles. This living document offers opportunities for students to compile smart and effective ways to navigate the financial concerns which come with college life, and highlights the simple fact students need to worry more about financial security more than ever before.

Resources for Teaching 1st Generation College students at VCU

First generation college students struggle a great deal with becoming accustomed to college life and the nuances of a different environment.”As a result, some first-generation college students may choose to remain invisible. Once they identify themselves, they run the risk of their academic ability, achievement, and performance being underestimated by others”(Banks-Santilli, 2022) The following articles offer insights into this specific population:

  • A great place to start to support new students navigate life at VCU is the Life at VCU website where they become keyed into all the happenings around the university.
  • Another website which offers a broad overview of all the different types of student services afforded it the page designated Current Students.
  • Student Services and the Campus Learning Center are two resources which can help students navigate college life at VCU.
  • McCallen and Johnson (2019)* present significant findings on the perceptions of first generation students and the role institutional agents play within a college environment.

Other Resources

  • The best resource for learning more about OER is to access the VCU Libraries resources.
  • 16 OER Sites offers a great overview of useful open educational resources which you can use for students.
  • Educause also provides a list of their helpful open educational resources for you to look through
  • I’m first is a great resource for interacting with other students who are the first in their families to attend college
  • Getting students to find a mentor to answer all their questions is important to their social growth, Ustrive* allows students to find a mentor who will help them navigate college life.
  • VCU TRIO Student Support Services is a federally funded program aimed to improve the graduation rates of first-generation, low-income students with disabilities through multiple support mechanisms.


Hungry for more?

Please check out our website for more details about course and support services. For any other questions please contact onlinefaculty@vcu.edu