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Parents & Families

First-Generation Students

Congratulations and welcome to the UW!

As the parent or family member of a first-generation college student, you have extra reason to be proud.

Did you know that more than 30 percent of undergraduate students across the three University of Washington campuses are first-generation students? We also have many faculty and staff who are proud to be the first in their families to earn their degree.

At the UW, we believe first-generation status is a strength, not a weakness. You can help support your student by encouraging them to ask their professors questions and reach out for extra guidance as needed. And, speaking of asking questions, UW Parent and Family Programs is here to support your family every step of the way. Reach out to us anytime: Also, don’t miss our Parent & Family Guide. It’s full of information on everything from campus tutoring centers to student housing options to financial aid.

Let’s get acquainted

UW family orientation is a great way to collect the information and skills necessary to support your student.

We welcome parents, partners, grandparents and other friends and family members of first-year students.

Here when they need us

A variety of academic support programs are available at UW, and we encourage students to share their first-generation status with their professors, advisers and TAs.

The Center for Learning and Undergraduate Education (CLUE) provides drop-in tutoring in Mary Gates Hall, the HUB and Othello-UW Commons in South Seattle. Students who are first-generation college students, or from historically underrepresented groups may also access tutoring through the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity.

Common first-generation student questions

Common first-generation student questions

UW Bothell, UW Tacoma and the Seattle campus each have unique offerings to support first-generation students. Here’s an overview of what’s available. On the Seattle campus, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) has a long history of providing access and academic support for thousands of first-generation students on campus and across the state. Tutoring, one-on-one coaching, writing centers and study skills workshops are also available. Our Samuel E Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center has a wealth of resources and opportunities available to students, including student advising, organizational development, personal growth, and referrals to different departments and programs.

We have many first generation student groups that your Husky can join. They can find a peer mentor (or become one!), sign up for the first-gen updates list, and be on the lookout for special events and opportunities tied to National First-Generation College Celebration day on Nov. 8.

Visit the Student Financial Aid webpages for information about all types of aid, including scholarships, grants and emergency relief funds. Counselors are also available for one-on-one appointments. For Washington state students, the Husky Promise is a guarantee that we will not let financial challenges stand in the way of their UW degree. Learn more here.

The UW Dream Project is a service-learning course that supports middle- and high-school students across the Puget Sound region with college access and post-secondary planning. We encourage first-generation UW students who are passionate about educational equity to consider becoming mentors. First-generation students who are upperclassmen may also sign up for the firstUW mentorship program.

Leadership Without Borders (LWB) was created with undocumented students in mind. Its mission is to serve as a launch pad for students’ leadership, a space for community building, and a connection point for awareness, as well as to resources and services for undocumented students.

Did you know?

Nov. 8 is National First-Generation College Celebration, an opportunity to celebrate the presence and success of first-generation college students, faculty and staff on college campuses around the country. As part of this event, several students have shared their stories of being the first in their families to attend college.