First Generation College Student

First Generation Students

A first-generation college student means that your parent(s) did not complete a 4-year college degree (U.S. Department of Education, 2023). Mentors are valuable assets to first-gen students because first-gen students face additional challenges than most first-year college students.

These challenges include:

  • Stigma – feeling shame as if they are imposters on campus or overcoming racial disparities.
  • Different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds make it difficult to assimilate into college life.
  • Family conflict and guilt.
  • Confusion from not knowing how to navigate the resources available to them or the academic system.


To assist the First-Generation students on campus, a mentor program was formed. The First-Generation mentoring program’s goal is to link students with first-gen faculty and staff who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge of how they navigated their college experience to motivate, help, and inspire students.

Alpha Alpha Alpha

Tri-Alpha also known as Alpha Alpha Alpha is a national honor society for first-generation scholars. Few academic programs are specifically geared toward first-generation students at Albany Technical College (ATC), and now an organization exists specifically for them. This honor society is a way to celebrate the academic achievements of our first-generation students. Faculty and Staff may also be inducted if they meet the definition of a first-generation student before completing their bachelor’s degree. Faculty and staff must also be willing to serve as mentors for first-generation students.

To qualify:

  • You must be a current degree candidate at Albany Technical College
  • Who has completed at least three full-time terms of study (minimum 30 credit hours),
  • Who has an overall GPA of at least 3.2
  • Who comes from a family where neither parent nor any legal guardians earned a bachelor’s degree.

We hope that you will join! To learn more about the Tri-Alpha Honors Society, visit their official website at

National First-Generation College Celebration Day

To honor the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, that expanded college opportunities for low-income and first-generation populations, Nov. 8 is observed as National First-Generation Celebration Day. This day is used to celebrate the success of first-gen college students, faculty and staff and to encourage communities to better understand the systematic barriers faced by first-gen college students. Here at ATC, we host events the entire day focused on first-generation student success.