Supporting First-Generation University Students

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First Gen Books

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First-Gen Narratives: Browse the Collection

Educated : a memoir

Author Tara Westover was born to survivalists living off the grid in the mountains. She never saw a doctor and suffered from a violent older brother. When another brother made it out to the broader world and entered college, Westover taught herself enough to enter the educational system herself for the first time at the age of seventeen. Here she discusses the importance of education and its ability to spark self-reflection and self-invention.

First in My Family

The vast majority of American youth want to attend college, and their parents wish the same for them. Yet only about one in three completes a bachelor's degree, and a similar proportion earns a college education shy of a bachelor's degree. Unequal resources can explain much of this disparity, but parent education and income are not the whole story. In fact, a quarter of young Americans become the first generation in their family to attend college, while another quarter fail to replicate their parents' college attainment. What allows some students to rise above their parents' educational achievements? What can protect young people from falling short of college? Based on a sophisticated analysis of a large national study, the book reveals a host of parent behaviors that strongly predict children's college attendance, regardless of parent education or income. To illustrate this groundbreaking research, the book also presents the stories of first-generation students in their own words. As one student described: "I want to tell my parents that I'm helping you with this book. I want to tell them that without their emotional support, I couldn't have done it. Parents can be such a resource for resilience. Parents who read your book should hear that. I wouldn't have gone to college without my parents' encouragement and support."

First Gen

*A NATIONAL BESTSELLER* An unflinching memoir and "resource" (People) about navigating social mobility as a first gen Latina--offering both a riveting personal story and an examination of the unacknowledged emotional tolls of being a trailblazer. Alejandra Campoverdi has been a child on welfare, a White House aide to President Obama, a Harvard graduate, a gang member's girlfriend, and a candidate for U.S. Congress. She's ridden on Air Force One and in G-rides. She's been featured in Maxim magazine and had a double mastectomy. Living a life of contradictory extremes often comes with the territory when you're a "First and Only." It also comes at a price.   With candor and heart, Alejandra retraces her trajectory as a Mexican American woman raised by an immigrant single mother in Los Angeles. Foregoing the tidy bullet points of her resume and instead shining a light on the spaces between them, what emerges is a powerful testimony that shatters the one-dimensional glossy narrative we are often sold of what it takes to achieve the American Dream. In this timely and revealing reflection, Alejandra draws from her own experiences to name and frame the challenges First and Onlys often face, illuminating a road to truth, healing, and change in the process.   Part memoir, part manifesto, FIRST GEN is a story of generational inheritance, aspiration, and the true meaning of belonging--a gripping journey to "reclaim the parts of ourselves we sacrificed in order to survive."  

Call Me American

The author shares the story of his life from his birth under a neem tree in Somalia to his journey to America. Highlights the traditions and customs of his culture as well as his dreams of becoming an American citizen and the struggles he faced as a Somali refugee.

Advocacy Organizations

The GI Bill