First-generation: College decision making
There are many things to consider for the first in a family to go to college at NAU
Surrounded by piles of mail from several colleges and don’t know where to begin? There are many things to consider when selecting a college. Two important ones include FIT and FINANCIAL AID.
Fit: Finding the right fit for a first generation university student
What is fit? Fit is whether the particular college you are considering is the right one for YOU. How do you know a college is the right one? Consider these factors:
- Does this college have the major(s) you are interested in? Check out NAU’s available majors.
- What resources are available to assist you throughout college? Resources might include mentoring programs, tutoring, academic and career advising.
- Where is this college located and is it someplace you would like to live? Really give this some thought. NAU and Flagstaff have four seasons (that includes sunny days, cold mornings and warm afternoons, snow, and sometimes more snow).
- Is this college far from home? How frequently do you want or need to visit? First‐gen students sometimes experience homesickness more strongly than students whose parents went to college. Plan for this:
- If you need to be home frequently, do you have the transportation and money to afford going home often? Going home often has a cost ‐ you won’t feel as connected to campus activities and new friends in college.
- If you can’t visit home as often as you would like, how will you stay in touch with family and friends? What activities will you get involved in to combat homesickness?
- Will you live on campus? First‐gen students who live on campus (vs. at home) are more connected to campus, get more involved, and develop a stronger academic portfolio than students who live at home.
One of the best things you can do is to visit the college you are interested in attending. Arrange a visit to NAU today!
Financial aid: Helping with the cost of college for first generation students
- What will college cost each semester? Add up the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, class fees, textbooks, room/rent, meal plan or food, school supplies, parking permit/transportation fee, etc. For an Arizona resident, this can easily be over $10,000 each semester.
- How much financial aid have you been offered? What grants and scholarships do you have (you don’t have to pay these back, and there are several scholarships for first generation students)? What loans are available (you will have to pay these back after you graduate)?
- What is your expected contribution to college? What have you saved up from summer jobs or graduation gifts? What expenses can your family help you pay? Will they take out a loan or do they have savings they can offer you?
- Will you work while in school? Many students who work a part‐time job on campus actually get higher grades while in college. They have to plan their study time and often become more efficient. But remember not to work too many hours, or it will take away from the time you need to focus on schoolwork.