Center for Student Success

First Generation Services and Support

For Students

We understand that starting college can be exciting, yet challenging.

You are not alone.

The staff in the Center for Student Success is here to support you by providing resources and guidance to help you succeed socially and academically at Oberlin College. We are so excited that you have been accepted. We hope that your journey to Oberlin has started on a positive note and will set the tone for a rewarding student experience.

The following information offers resources that are available to first-generation, high financial need college students.

To help ensure that first-generation and high financial need students are connected and supported, we pair them with a peer mentor. These mentors are here to help new students navigate the college process, get connected with resources, identify and solve problems, and ultimately assist in making their transition to college life as smooth as possible.

Students have an opportunity to select a peer mentor that best represents their values, or who they feel most compatible with. Our mentors are also first-generation or high financial need students and have had similar experiences.

First-Gen Resources

Center for Student Success sponsors programs and workshops throughout the year, including pre-orientation opportunities, Learning Enhancement Across Disciplines (LEAD) classes, advising, summer opportunities, self-care and planning workshops, cultural education, guest speakers, assistance with finding resources on and off campus, and opportunities for community building.

We invite you to visit the newly opened ObieXings/First-Gen Commons in Third World House (Price House) on the south side of campus. This is a safe space especially designed for you to gather, share ideas, mingle, hold meetings, and build community.

I’m First

“No matter where you come from or how much money your family has, I want you to know that you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build an incredible life for yourself. That’s been my life story, and my husband’s as well. And if you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, I want you to know that it can be your story too.”

—First Lady Michelle Obama

Watch Mrs. Obama’s “I’m First” Story

For Parents

Having your student move to college can be both a challenging and exciting time. Many of us in the Center for Student Success are former first-generation college students.

To help in your transition, consider these five tips that we’ve either learned from our own parents, or from parents of students whom we have mentored and supported:

Remind your student that they belong at Oberlin College.

Go out of your way to remind them that they are good enough, that they deserve to be in college like everyone else. Let them know that making adjustments is normal and that they will grow more comfortable over time.

Be prepared for a change.

As children mature and make their own mark in the world, the move to college often comes along with a new-found sense of adulthood. All young people go through changes during their college experience—they become friends with students from all over the U.S. and the world; they live away from home for the first time; and they begin their path to a future career.

Be assured that your student is not alone.

Fortunately, Oberlin offers many resources that are available for first-generation students and the following are just a few examples. We have a peer mentoring program to assist all first-year, first-generation students with their transition to college. We also offer the ObieXings/First-Gen Commons, located in Third World House on south campus, as a safe community space. We deliver extensive programming during the year on such topics as time management, finances, summer jobs and internship opportunities, and topics specific to the first-year college experience.

Don’t be upset if your student doesn’t call every day or come home on weekends.

They will have so many different responsibilities and learning to balance them can be difficult in the beginning.

Be patient with each other.

This is a learning experience for both of you.