Colleges & Universities

Colleges and UniversitiesThe First Generation Foundation encourages students who are the first in their family to attend college to consider academically rigorous colleges and universities. There is not a hard-and-fast rule, nor a litmus test, to assess the academic rigor of a postsecondary institution. There are numerous college ranking instruments available, including the U.S. News and World Report. Colleges range from most competitive, highly competitive, very competitive, competitive, and open-access. Open access institutions, including community colleges, have few entry requirements or standards, although you will be expected to have college-level mathematics and writing skills. Although you may earn high marks for mathematics and English and consider yourself “good at math” or “good at writing,” this does not mean that your skills are considered to be adequate for an academically rigorous college. You may have even earned A’s or B’s at your high school and may test into remedial or developmental math or English courses at a community college. There are a few rules of thumb to consider. An academically rigorous college is usually a nonprofit institution, with its major funding coming from private or through public sources. An academically rigorous college is typically one that is regionally accredited, although regional accreditation by itself is not a guarantee of academic rigor. An academically rigorous college usually has entrance standards, and its courses are arranged in a sequence, ensuring that students have the requisite, foundational knowledge before moving to more advanced courses.

Academically Rigorous Colleges/Universities

Duke University

First Generation Network The 1G Network is a group of undergraduate first-generation college students who meet regularly for mutual support and knowledge development. The goal of the program is to help students acclimate to the university quickly, gain a social network, learn positive ways to interact and work with faculty members, and build “social capital” before the rest of the freshman class arrives on campus. Program enhancements for this year include the development of a parent guide and a one-day pre-orientation parallel workshop for parents of incoming low-income, first-generation students and integration of career and psychological programming in the afternoon sessions.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

UNCG is First-Generation Friendly, especially for low-income students. UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady stated, “UNCG has long been the first choice university for a wide array of students including first generationals, and those with financial challenges. She added, “We are proud to offer affordable tuition rates and support programs to help first-generation college students thrive through our Student Success Program.” The University of North Carolina at Greensboro 1400 Spring Garden Street Greensboro, NC 27412

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr is one of the world’s most distinctive, distinguished colleges.  Every year 1,300 undergraduate women and 400 graduate students from around the world gather on the College’s historic campus to study with leading scholars, conduct advanced research, and expand the boundaries of what’s possible. Office of Admissions 101 North Merion Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899 Phone 610-526-5152 Fax 610-526-7471

Case Western Reserve University

Continually ranked among America’s best colleges, Case Western Reserve University has a habit of breaking new ground. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni innovate. They inspire. They test the limits of what’s possible. It’s who we are. Case Western Reserve University 10900 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Colorado College

Drawing upon the adventurous spirit of the Rocky Mountain West, we challenge students, one course at a time, to develop those habits of intellect and imagination that will prepare them for learning and leadership throughout their lives.” 14 East Cache La Poudre St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Admission Office: 800-542-7214 or 719-389-6344 Fax: 719-389-6816 14 E. Cache La Poudre St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Financial Aid Office: 800-260-6458 or 719-389-6651 Fax: 719-389-6173 14 E. Cache La Poudre St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Harvard University

The advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences; the advancement and education of youth in all manner of good literature, arts, and sciences; and all other necessary provisions that may conduce to the education of the . . . youth of this country…. In brief: Harvard strives to create knowledge, to open the minds of students to that knowledge, and to enable students to take best advantage of their educational opportunities. To these ends, the College encourages students to respect ideas and their free expression, and to rejoice in discovery and in critical thought; to pursue excellence in a spirit of productive cooperation; and to assume responsibility for the consequences of personal actions. Harvard seeks to identify and to remove restraints on students’ full participation, so that individuals may explore their capabilities and interests and may develop their full intellectual and human potential. Education at Harvard should liberate students to explore, to create, to challenge, and to lead. The support the College provides to students is a foundation upon which self-reliance and habits of lifelong learning are built: Harvard expects that the scholarship and collegiality it fosters in its students will lead them in their later lives to advance knowledge, to promote understanding, and to serve society.

  • First Generation Student Shared Interest Group
  • First Generation Harvard Alumni
  • President: Kevin Jennings AB ’85 Email:

1060 Holyoke Center 1350 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 T (617) 495-1585 F (617) 495-0754

Miami University

Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. With a student body of 16,000, Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions. Our focus on personal attention is enhanced through the study in selected disciplines by graduate students, who along with undergrads, participate with faculty in significant research and scholarship activities. Miami also offers vibrant residential and community-based programs involving students in life-enhancing experiences. Access to College Opportunity Center and I’m a First Initiative list at Miami at and the Ventures Scholars Program that serves high achieving underrepresented students and first-generation college-bound students interested in pursuing math- and science-based careers. 2011 Miami University 501 East High Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056. (513) 529-1809

Oberlin College

Oberlin is a four-year, highly selective liberal arts college and conservatory of music. Founded in 1833 by a Presbyterian minister and a missionary, it holds a distinguished place among American colleges and universities. It was the first college to grant bachelor’s degrees to women in a coeducational environment and, historically, was a leader in the education of African Americans. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission. The Oberlin community is known for its academic and musical excellence and its commitment to social justice, sustainability, and diversity. Our legacy of inclusion and respect for diversity sets the tone for campus life today. The presence of a top liberal arts college and a world-class conservatory of music on a single campus is rare and enriching. Here, students live, dine, play, and study together in a community of intense learning and discovery. We revel in our differences as much as we value the sense that we are all in this together. We share a commitment to pushing the boundaries of our determination, intellect, and creativity. Together, the campus and community create a place of urban sensibility reflecting the music, art, and cultural richness of the world. Oberlin’s size, residential character, variety, and selectivity provide an atmosphere that is conducive to intellectual and personal growth. 101 N. Professor St. Oberlin, OH 44074 (440) 775-8121 (800) 622-6243 or (440) 775-8411 College of Arts & Sciences Admissions phone: (800) 622-6243 or (440) 775-8411 101 N. Professor St., Oberlin, OH 44074

Stanford University

Students are admitted on a need-blind basis, and the university ensures that no admitted student is unable to attend. Once here, students discover that exploration, challenge, and curiosity are limited only by their desires. Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305 (650) 723-2300

University of Miami

The University of Miami is a private research university with more than 15,000 students from around the world located in Coral Gables, Florida. The University of Miami is a vibrant and diverse academic community focused on teaching and learning, the discovery of new knowledge, and service to the South Florida region and beyond. University of Miami Coral Gables, Florida 33124

College & University First Generation Support Networks

University of Carolina Chapel Hill

 Nearly 20% of undergraduates at UNC-Chapel Hill are first generation college students. The institution proudly calls its first generation college students “Carolina Firsts.”

Georgia Tech First Gen

FirstGen was founded to provide ample support to Georgia Tech’s first generation college student community. It has gained 140+ members and support from many departments and organizations on Georgia Tech’s campus over the past year. FirstGen is OPEN to the entire GT community. There is no restriction in who can be involved. However, our GradFund this Spring is restricted to undergraduates since we are no financially able to offer the same award to graduating Master’s/PhD students.

MU First Generation Support Network

With assistance from UM Administration and Residence Education, a small team of undergraduate and graduate students created a program that hopes to eventually offer a variety of resources, advising, and outreach to current and future first generation university students and their parents. First-Generation College Students @ Michigan is a newly formed student organization dedicated to the goals of recognizing, raising awareness of, and resolving the unique needs of first generation college students at the University of Michigan. We are proud to announce that First-Generation College Students @ Michigan is the first student-lead organization of its type in the nation

Business Schools

Top-ranked business schools are listed below:

Faculty Resources


NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)