Tag: Undergraduate Advising

Tips for First Generation Students

Tips for First Generation Students

You’re the first one to go to college and you’re clueless, but it’s OK.   I, too, am a first generation student at Loyola University Chicago.  I am also an only child and I did not have any close relatives attending college in 2010; it was difficult, but I did it!  Here are some tips that worked for me!

  • REACH OUT EARLY.  This is the most important and this is why it’s my first tip!  Talk to your counselor/advisor asap.  If you know you’re major advisor, talk to him or her as well.  You need to make sure you’re on track so you don’t end up doing a fifth year.  It’s a huge transition from high school, so make sure you’re aware of your options and you know what to do.
  • INVOLVE YOUR FAMILY.  As a first year, I thought I could do it all myself.  However, I still talked to my parents about their opinion(s) on which classes to take, even though I was the first one to go to college.  Don’t try to do everything yourself, involve your parents and siblings and try to explain things to them so they understand and can help you out.
  • JOIN ORGANIZATIONS, INTRAMURAL SPORTS, GO WORK OUT, ETC.  The goal here is to make friends.  You did it in high school, do it again!  You’ll meet many people and who knows, if you meet someone in your major they’ll be able to give you advice on professors, classes, homework, etc.
  • GO TO OFFICE HOURS.  Meet with your professors if something doesn’t make sense, or if something does make sense!  Let them know about your issues, or likings about the class and introduce yourself.  They’re there to help; take advantage of it.
  • BE PATIENT. Sometimes it’s difficult for your family to understand that you have work to do, or that you can’t go home as often as you’d like because you’re swamp with papers/exams.  Talk to them and explain what the classes entail and require from you.  With time, they will understand and get the hang of it.
  • MAKE FRIENDS.  Meet other people who are also first generation students.  There will be days when you don’t know where to run and it’s always nice to have someone there.


Getting Personal

Getting Personal

It’s hard to believe that graduation is just around the corner.  This first semester of senior year is flying by, and I have been forced to think about my options after graduation.  That means applications, and that means a personal statement.

Most graduate schools require personal statements in their applications processes.  Though it is only two typewritten pages, it has proven to be a daunting task to complete.  As a law school applicant, I am supposed to write why I want to go to law school and why that will help me achieve my life goals.  I have to place all my passions and motivations, my determinations and my goals, all in two short pages.  Yikes.

I am an English major, so writing is nothing new.  I’ve probably written hundreds of pages in papers and essays in college, so the writing itself is not the difficult part.  It is evaluating my life and putting it into words that has me stumped.  Which parts of my life should I include, and where’s the line between professional and too personal?

Luckily, Loyola has plenty of resources available to help me out.  The Writing Center is conveniently located in the IC and assists students in all things writing.  Undergraduate and graduate tutors are available for one-on-one tutoring sessions to help in any stage of the writing process.  I’ve made an appointment for later this week, so hopefully someone in the Writing Center will have some idea how to translate my thoughts into words.

There are countless other resources available to Loyola students.  A good place to start is talking to your advisor.  The advising office is always ready to answer questions and offer support.

When your future in graduate school feels like it depends on two typewritten pages, it’s a relief to know there are people to help.