This site provides first-generation and/or low income students at Wesleyan with information and resources to support their success. Below you will find commonly-used college terms and Wesleyan acronyms; information about campus resources; tips for parents; and the stories of first-generation students, alumni, faculty and staff.

We hope to continually update this information so please forward questions and suggestions to the Student Affairs Office.  Welcome to Wesleyan!


A note of welcome from President Michael Roth

President Michael Roth

I am very proud of the fact that for decades Wesleyan has welcomed first-generation and low-income students onto campus to make the most of a dynamic, exciting liberal education. Our open curriculum allows students to forge their own paths, and the support network available (from academic advising to the career center) helps undergrads who encounter obstacles or just feel confused. When I arrived at Wesleyan in the 1970s as a first-gen student, I certainly felt confused! But the staff, faculty and students were all incredibly supportive and I found my time on campus to be a powerful resource life-long learning. I know that first generation and low-income students add so much to the vibrancy of a Wesleyan education, and I am confident that this education is a reservoir of learning that they can draw upon for the rest of their lives.


Who is First Generation?

Students are generally understood to be first-generation if their parents or legal guardians have not completed a four-year college degree. However, students whose circumstances fall outside of this description should know that they still have access to the support and resources described below, as there is no universal definition that will capture all of the complexities of being a first-generation student. 

We recognize that not all first-generation students are low-income and not all low-income students are first generation, but we wanted to create a space to describe the resources available for students who are a part of these communities.


Louise Neary, adjunct Associate Professor of Spanish, discusses her own experience as a first-generation college student, as well as the range of support services Wesleyan provides to first-generation students, in this video

Professor Louise Neary

Melissa Olgun '20 talks about what it's like to be a first-generation student at Wesleyan in this video.

Melissa Olgun class of 2020