New To College Help | Chattanooga State Community College

New To College Help

Are you the first in your family to attend college?

A first-generation college student is defined as a student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a bachelor's degree. This means that you are the first in your family to attend college. Being first-generation is a very proud accomplishment. First-Generation students face many obstacles and one is the vocabulary used on college campuses.

What first generation college students need to know in order to complete their degree and have a positive college experience:


Get Support

By becoming involved on campus, you may receive the support you need and begin to feel more integrated with other college students. Joining a student organization not only gives students the opportunity to build their skill sets such as, communication, time management, self-confidence, and networking, it also gives students the chance to create a sense of belonging within a community with like-minded people. Research has shown students who are involved on campus are more likely to succeed academically, complete their degree, and find a job after graduation. Talking to your family and friends about what you are experiencing as a college student can also be very beneficial.


Communicate About What You Are Experiencing

As you grow and develop, you may begin to feel different from your family and peers. This is a natural process for all college students, and it can be helpful to share your experiences with each other.


Utilize Resources

Find out what resources are available to you and use them. Take advantage of support services: mentoring programs, tutoring, housing and food, financial aid, counseling, career services, and any other additional academic support.


Maintain A Balance

Between academics, work, family, and a social life, it is important to balance your schedule. Learning how to manage your time is essential, especially in college. Remembering that the perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness, and hard work that helped you get into college will also help keep you here. 

Just remember, you may be the first, but you are not alone.


The Glossary of Academic Terms will help with confusing and/or intimidating words you will encounter across the college campus.