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We define Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS as those whose parent(s)/guardian(s) have not earned a master’s or doctoral degree. We recognize that our graduate students come from a broad range of diverse educational experiences, with many first-generation graduate students also having been first-generation college students. This initiative focuses on navigating academic culture, thriving as an advanced student, and building community.

Stephanie Medina-Molina participates in a welcome event while Kathy Wood and Yesenia Pedro Vicente look on.How We Create Student Success

  • Orientation – acclimating to academic culture
  • Understanding mentor/mentee relationship
  • Learning to ask for help
  • Communicating your academic training to family and friends
  • Learning to ask questions you assume everyone already knows
  • Understanding funding basics
  • Tapping into and creating informal support networks
  • First-generation faculty panel discussion
  • First-Gen Fridays—social networking events


First-Gen Forward Advisory Institution

Carolina is part of the first cohort of institutions recognized by the Center for First-Generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. Recognition as a First-Gen Forward Advisory Institution comes because of the commitment to first-generation college student support by Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS and Carolina Firsts.

The Carolina F1RSTS office supports undergraduate first-generation college students. Their office welcomes faculty, staff, and graduate students to become Carolina F1RSTS Advocates to serve as resources. Advocates trainings are offered throughout the academic year.

Additional Resources

“I wasn’t aware of support for first-generation students at the universities where I did my undergraduate and master’s degrees so appreciate that UNC-Chapel Hill recognizes and supports us.” —UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student