Selecting a university and attending is a big decision. But it certainly helps when you have a support system that has been through it before.
Dr. Kelly Wood, interim director for first-year programs and provost fellow for student success at Missouri State University, and Dr. Stephen Spates, assistant professor of communication (who went through a specialized advising course to assist first-gen students from the College of Arts and Letters), talk about addressing the needs of these students.
For Missouri State, first-generation means that neither parent has received a bachelor’s degree. Wood and Spates first share about the challenges these students may face.
Since these students have fewer initial touchpoints with the higher education system, the faculty and staff they come into contact with need to be prepared with answers.
Missouri State developed a plan to help identify and retain first-generation students. One of the resources is specialized advising – a program Spates went through to assist first-gen students in his college. But it’s so much more – from the very first semester until graduation, there is something extra to assure success.