Just as in life, everyone needs support from time to time while in college and some may be more likely to need or benefit from support than others. If you’re a member of any of the populations described below, it is important to find and choose a school that has support services in place that are specific to your unique needs. Doing so (and also taking advantage of these services while in school) can help ensure that you have as positive and productive experience as possible.
Keep reading to learn more about the types of services you should be looking for at prospective schools if you fit into one (or more) of these categories.
First Generation College Students
It is an exciting privilege yet also a challenge to be the first person in your family to go to college. Not having parents or other family members who have gone through the process before you can leave you feeling less prepared and confident in your ability to succeed in college. It’s therefore a good idea to find a school that offers a summer program for accepted students that can help you learn about college life prior to the start of your first year. These programs can help you get used to the campus and can also help you (and your parents/family) understand the financial, academic and social aspects of college. A school should also have support services that can and will assist you throughout your college experience, which includes internship and career assistance. Do a site search for “first generation” or “first gen” on the websites of the school’s you’re considering to see what types of services and programs they offer. Another resource to look into is I’m First – in addition to having general information on being a first-generation student, they also have a very helpful tool that allows you to search and connect with colleges that do a great job supporting first-gen students.
Read more about going to college as a first generation college student here.
You have proudly served our country in the military, so you deserve nothing but the best when it comes to your college experience. However, being that you’re most likely of a different age than the “typical college student” and have definitely had more life experience, you’ll want to make sure that you attend a school that recognizes these differences and has services in place that will help you to have the experience you deserve. For instance, a great first step is to look for schools that provide additional financial aid to veterans, which you can receive in addition to the aid offered by the VA. A school should also provide services and mentoring programs to help veterans adjust to civilian and academic life, and it should also provide veteran-oriented career consultation services. Here is one of many resources available online that provides a list of military-friendly colleges around the nation along with a description of the services that each school provides. Another great resource for you is Student Veterans of America.
Coming to a college in the U.S. from another country can be very exciting but also very challenging. Not only will you have to become accustomed to a new academic system, but you’ll also have to get used to what can very likely seem like a new way of life. Everything from the language to the clothing, food and customs can be very different than what you’re used to in your home country. It is therefore very important to prepare for this change and to also find a school that has services in place to support international students throughout their college experience. As you research schools, get in touch with them to ask what services are available to assist international students in making the transition to life on campus. Also, look for schools that offer special advising centers, counselors, ESL programs (if needed) and even international student dorms. You should also try to find out how many students from your country attend the school(s) in which you’re interested (and whether the town or city in which the school is based has a community from your home country). Being able to connect with other students from your country is a great way to ease into your new life while also maintaining a connection to home. If you are a foreign student planning to study in America, check out this list of schools that reported the highest percentages of international students in the 2014-2015 academic year.