Being the first in your family to attend college can be daunting and overwhelming, but it's also a testament to you and to your family's hard work and sacrifice. Tufts is proud to recruit first-generation students and we believe that as a first-gen student, you offer a distinct voice and valuable perspective to our community. While the transition to college may be unfamiliar to you and your family, we hope you won’t underestimate the strengths you bring to this process, too, including resourcefulness, compassion, gratitude, flexibility, hopefulness, persistence, and more. With that in mind, we put together this page to give you and your family a sense of what it's like to be a first-generation college student on our campus and familiarize you with the resources that may be helpful during your time at Tufts.
And if you'd like to learn more about the first-generation student experience at Tufts, feel free to e-mail Sean Ashburn, Evelyn Ocampo '17, Chris Flores, Trenton Manns '19, Pamela Toscano '19, or Sayaka Smith.
Community Resources on Campus
Academic and Professional Resources on Campus
FIRST Resource Center
The FIRST Resource Center was founded to create a community of support and to develop a network of resources for Tufts University’s first-generation, low-income, and undocumented communities. By strengthening the bonds between our community members and bridging the gap between Tufts’ resources and first-gen students, FIRST aims to ensure that first-gen students are empowered and prepared to reach their full social, professional, and academic potential. FIRST Resource Center goals include:
- Establishing a first-generation peer leader program
- Providing a safe and inclusive space for undocumented students
- Providing a safe and inclusive space for students with intersecting marginalized identities
- Creating an inclusive space for first-generation students that promotes community
- Raising awareness, visibility, and pride as it relates to the student experiences of those affiliated with the Center
Pre-Orientation: Building Engagement and Access for Students at Tufts (BEAST)
BEAST is a free, four-day Pre-Orientation program that focuses on the unique social and cultural experiences specific to students who may be the first in their families to attend college, and for students seeking guidance on navigating financial and academic resources at Tufts. BEAST provides participants support by acquainting them with useful resources and skills to navigate the sometimes complicated social and academic aspects of college life, all while connecting them to members of our community who are instrumental in helping our students succeed. As part of this, students will need to understand the structure of Tufts, Boston, and the local community. With that in mind, events include exploring Boston and the various modes of transport throughout the city, a financial workshop led by specialized Tufts faculty, and in-depth discussions with experienced Tufts students sharing insight into their personal journeys as first-generation and/or low-income.
FGC is a student organization Tufts committed to uniting and championing pride within Tufts’ first-generation student community. The First-Gen Collective hosts meetings and programs throughout the academic year, including:
- Workshops to support first-gen students in achieving their academic and personal goals
- Welcome Panel during Orientation week that features sophomore, junior, and senior students who share their experiences as first-gen students at Tufts and resources they have utilized to enhance their success
- Opportunities for community building through bonding exercises, group discussions, and biweekly hangouts with food, music, and games
- Fall and Spring semester dinners, where students can share meals and connect with the first-gen community
- "I’m First" photo campaign, where students, staff, and faculty share what being first-gen at Tufts means to them
Identity-based Resource Centers
Tufts’ identity-based centers - including the Africana Center, Asian American Center, FIRST Resource Center, Latino Center, LGBT Center, and Women’s Center – are resources on campus for all students interested in thinking about social identities and how they impact our lives and the world we live in. They offer students opportunities for peer mentorship, events, discussion, and leadership on issues of identity, diversity, and social justice. Most importantly, the Centers provide all students a place to go and a place to be heard.
Counseling and Mental Health Services
CMHS employs a diverse team of clinicians deeply committed to helping students navigate challenges related to mental health and well-being. They offer a range of free and confidential services to all undergraduates and to graduate students who have paid the Health Fee. Each year, approximately 25% of Tufts students seek support through their services, which include individual therapy, groups and workshops, consultations, and off-campus referrals. Among CMHS’ weekly and bi-weekly groups are sessions for students impacted by undocumented status, students who identify as trans* or gender non-conforming, and international students adjusting to life in the United States.
Center for STEM Diversity
Established in 2008, Tufts' Center for STEM Diversity works in partnership with the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences to foster a diverse and inclusive science and engineering learning environment. The Center focuses on strengthening meaningful student participation in science and engineering, specifically for traditionally underrepresented groups including women, African Americans, Native Americans, the LGBTQ community, and those who identify as Hispanic and/or Latinx. The Center also works intentionally with first-generation college students and with students from low-income backgrounds.
The Center's program's include:
- Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST)
- Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
- Redefining the Image of Science and Engineering (RISE) Seminar
- STEM Ambassadors
Academic Resource Center
The ARC offers one-on-one consultations in writing and time management and study strategies, as well as tutoring for introductory-level courses in sciences, math, economics, computer science and foreign languages. They also offer group sessions, including study groups in the sciences, various writing groups, courses for multilingual students, and workshops. ARC programs promote engaged, collaborative learning that build on your strengths while addressing your concerns and questions.
Student Accessibility Services
SAS strives to create accessible curricular and co-curricular environments for students with disabilities. When barriers exist in the academic environment or program, SAS endeavors to create equal access through the provision and creation of reasonable individualized accommodations for all qualified students. Accommodations may be related to academic needs, housing, meal plans, parking, and other areas.
Tufts has been offering study abroad programs for over five decades and currently offers ten undergraduate programs for juniors (and occasionally seniors) to study in Chile, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The aim of Tufts Programs Abroad is integration into a foreign university and the cultural and social life of the host country. The programs are organized to encourage students to continue their study of the language, culture, and history of the host country while completing course requirements for graduation and their major. Each of the programs is headed by a resident director who oversees academic and administrative aspects of the program and who serves as an academic and cultural adviser to the students. There are also faculty-led summer abroad programs in Cadiz, Spain and Pavia, Italy, along with a six-week program at the Tufts European Center in Talloires, France.
Office of Scholar Development
The Office of Scholar Development helps students access opportunities for independent research and sponsored scholarship. They assist students with the application processes for national fellowships and awards and support students with navigating on-campus research opportunities, such as the Summer Scholars program.
The mission of the Tufts Career Center is to foster transformational experiences that shape the lifelong professional, academic and personal development of Tufts students and alumni. Their services support undergraduate and graduate students from the earliest stages of career exploration through alumni career management. In one-on-one sessions, Career Center advisors discuss topics related to self-assessment, choosing a major, resumes and cover letters, networking, internship and job searches, interviewing, graduate or professional school applications, and much more. Daily drop-in hours are also offered in several locations with no appointment needed.
Many undergraduate students work part-time work study or non-work study jobs during their time at Tufts. These positions can help students refine their career interests, develop essential job skills, and earn some additional funds for books and personal expenses. Student Employment maintains a job listing for on-campus work study, on-campus non-work study, and off-campus part-time positions on Handshake, the Career Center’s recruiting platform.