Being a First-generation Student at Springfield College | Springfield College

Being a First-generation Student at Springfield College

Are you a first-generation college student?

You are not alone. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the student body at Springfield College is considered first-generation. You are part of an exceptional group of students who are forging new grounds and building a bright future. The fact that you made it this far, demonstrates your resilience and commitment. You have much to be proud of!

Springfield College - First Generation Students

Members of the Division of Student Affairs are dedicated to ensuring that you have the necessary resources for success. At Springfield College, you will find the support you need to succeed in the classroom, engage in service and leadership opportunities, and join clubs and groups that interest you as you grow on your self-authored journey, whatever that may entail. We are committed to making you feel at home. Please get in touch with us at or (413) 748-3922 for any questions you may have.

We are committed to making first-generation students feel at home at Springfield College. 

Academic Advising at Springfield College

Tips and Resources Created for Your Success

First-generation Mentoring Program

The First-generation Mentoring Program is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs.  Incoming first-year, first-generation students are matched with a faculty , staff,  or upper class first-gen student from Springfield College for valuable support and guidance through the academic year. Ongoing conversations and meetings between students and their mentors are essential to the mentoring program’s success. Students applying for this mentoring opportunity commit to weekly check-ins and communication with their mentor for the entire academic year.

Through a series of one-on-one meetings and messages, your mentor will help you learn how to:

  • Navigate Springfield College
  • Access help from all offices on campus
  • Identify your strengths, values, and goals
  • Connect with other students and become involved on campus
  • Access tutorial service and academic support
  • Apply for work-study and summer job opportunities
  • Engage with the Springfield College Humanics philosophy 



The Pressures of Excelling Academically

Your academic success is not only important to you but also to your family and community. We are committed to connecting you to valuable resources to ensure you excel academically. Some of these resources include: 

Paying for College/Understanding Financial Aid

We know college is expensive and navigating this alone can be overwhelming. Grants, scholarships, loans, and on-campus job opportunities can make college more affordable than students think. Some resources on campus that can help you navigate your finances include:

Navigating Self-Doubt

The college experience can be intimidating, even scary, initially for all first-year students. Questions such as, "Am I a fit for college?" and "Who am I doing this for?" can percolate and distract you from pursuing your goals. It is okay to ask for help. Some resources on campus that can help you include:

The College Experience is Challenging

Determining where to get  information/support can feel overwhelming. However, resources such as the Registrar, Disability and Accessibility Services, and Student Affairs are all welcoming offices and can be the key to solving many student concerns and questions.

First-generation Students Make a Difference

There is something special about being the first in your family to attend and graduate college. First-generation students are forging the path for their families, siblings, community, and, most importantly, themselves. It is up to you to make the most of your experience. Some resources on campus that can help you do that include:

Being a first-generation student means embracing the college experience as my opportunity to learn and grow with an open mind and resilience toward a degree. As a first-generation Vietnamese-American, it is my chance to thank my family for their sacrifices and earn our degree with pride and success. Cathy Pham, Master’s Graduate Student
Cathy Pham, Master’s Graduate Student
When I first became a student at Springfield College, I felt intimidated by how many people seemed to have their life together, which eventually caused me to feel like I didn't belong here. However, over time I began to get the hang of navigating college and all its aspects and felt that I deserved to be here, especially after finding my people and joining clubs on campus. I was able to get to where I am now because I constantly told myself, "If I could make it to the same space as everyone else here and manage to stay in the same space, I belonged." Devonish Brown, Undergraduate Student , 2024, Health Sciences
Devonish Brown, Undergraduate Student Springfield College
If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. Step out of your comfort zone and try as many new things as possible. If you don't like it, apply what you learned to your next experience. The only way to truly grow is to accept your failures and be a better version of yourself each day.
Kyle DeBlasiis, Undergraduate Student, 2023, Sport Marketing
Kyle DeBlasiis, Springfield College

Resources to Help You from New Student Orientation to Graduation

Support ServicesAcademic and Career ResourcesGetting Involved
These resources will support you in spirit, mind, and body.Academic success, exploring majors and career paths, and preparing for life after graduation are critical to your success.Students who get involved in cocurricular life have the best college experience. There’s something for everyone.

FAQ for First-generation Students

I want to be in college, but I'm unsure how to be successful academically, socially, and/or personally. Where do I start?

There’s no shame in recognizing that you need help, especially in a new college environment. This is normal for all students. One of the most immediate ways to get connected with someone who will support your success is by joining the First-generation Mentoring Program. A mentor understands the challenges you’ll face and the questions you may have throughout your first year, and will meet with you regularly to be sure you have the support you need.  

This is my first time being away from home. How do I navigate this transition?

The good news is that you’re not alone. Being away from home is new for all first-year students. You’re probably feeling a blend of excitement and nervousness which is true for anyone entering a new, unfamiliar situation. Take advantage of the first few weeks of the semester to make friends and take strides together as you navigate the campus environment. Missing the daily interactions with family and friends is natural, but not every student experiences homesickness. Stay in communication with your family and support network; share what’s going well and what’s challenging. Be open to building a network of support on campus as well.

Will I find people like me?

You’ll find them everywhere! You may feel a bit out of place because of your first-gen identity but remember, 27% of first-year students are first-gen. And even among those who aren’t first-gen, you’ll find you have more similarities than differences. It will take a bit of time and effort to make friends; don’t expect it to happen immediately. Strike up a conversation with someone in a class, keep your residence hall room door open when you’re hanging out in your room so your neighbors can stop by, join a club that interests you, attend some of the many events happening on campus

What do I do when I feel like the pressure is too much?

Take a breath and remind yourself why you chose to attend college. Remember the goals you’ve set for yourself and understand that the path to achieving those goals could be bumpy. Seek out assistance from your mentor, the Academic Success Center staff, the Counseling Center staff, your academic advisor, friends, and family. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you’ll get back on track. 

What are the positives related to being a first-generation student?

There are so many! You’re forging a path that no one in your family has traveled before and there’s so much for you to be proud of. You’re creating a future for yourself that will include career satisfaction and financial security. You can self-author your journey with the many choices and opportunities that await you.

FAQ for Parents/Guardians of First-generation Students

College is new territory for me. How can I familiarize myself with the school to best support my student?

There is a wealth of information available online through office/department Web pages, but we encourage you to attend open houses, campus tours, and New Student Orientation programs with your student. You’ll learn about the application process, paying for college, academic majors, and all of the support that awaits your student here at Springfield College. Every office is also staffed with knowledgeable people who are committed  to walk you through any process and answer your questions. Please don’t hesitate to call!

I'm proud of my student, but I'm also scared of sending them away. How do I navigate these conflicting feelings?

While sending your student off to college can feel like a dream come true, it can also come with fear and uncertainty. Just as your student might feel overwhelmed with the process of starting college, you’ll go through a similar transition that might take some time. If this is the first time your student is living away from home, it’s natural to be concerned about them making new friends, managing their time, balancing their studies with their social life, and adjusting to college-level academics. The key for both you and your student is to communicate about how you’re feeling. Try to let them navigate their new environment on their own, but let them know you’re there for them. Understand that part of the college experience is for students to grow and become their own person. Expect to see some changes in them.

What will my student's experience consist of? How can I help them adjust?

While every first-generation student's experience at Springfield College varies, themes that many encounter include balancing class, work, and their personal life, exploring co-curricular activities, fostering new relationships with mentors and peers, and answering the question, "Who am I?". This can be a lot to navigate. While ongoing support initiatives and persons on campus will meet your student, you can also contribute to this transitional period with an open mind. Actively listen to your student's experiences compassionately, encourage them to utilize resources to ensure their well-being, and embrace that you may not have all the correct answers. It is a new experience for everyone, so, most importantly, be willing to learn alongside your students to support them best.

How can I help my student through the financial aid process?

For many first-generation students and families, navigating the financial aid process solidifies that the student is indeed going to college. After all, it is a significant component associated with attending, and we understand how that can be stressful in some instances. That is why the Office of Financial Aid staff at Springfield College is here to answer your questions and patiently guide you through the process, as long as you are patient. Allot adequate time to complete it with your student, and be prepared to become familiar with this necessary, yearly process.