Clark Honors College First-Generation Student Resource Page




Clark Honors College

First-Generation Student Resource Page




Five students sitting in front of a sunlit brick wall


Are you a First-Generation student?

Clark Honors College defines First-Generation college students as those whose custodial parents or legal guardians had not earned a bachelor’s degree. You may also identify as a First-Generation student even if you do not fit this specific definition, such as if your parents or guardians attended college outside of the United States, or if your parents or guardians completed their college degrees in a non-traditional way.

This CHC web page is intended to identify and share key resources that are designed to better support the First-Generation student population at the Honors College.


Together, we soar

What unites all First-Generation students, no matter the specific definition, is the experience of navigating college life without having readily available parent, guardian, or community first-hand knowledge of university systems to help support you along the way.

Whatever your situation, we want you to know you are not alone. Many students, faculty and staff at the Honors College and at UO share your experience.

Check out these stories about those who are First-Generation students.

Do you have a first-generation story to share? Send an email to 


Here in the Clark Honors College, we are ready and excited to offer support for our First-Generation students and to help them find other UO campus resources as well. Consider tapping into the following well of resources to help shine light on your path toward a college degree.

Angela Rovak
CHC First-Generation Student Leadership Group

Do you identify as a First-Generation college student? If so, you are invited to join the CHC’s First-Generation Student Leadership Group. The group is a student-led space where members connect with peers who share their experiences being the first children in their families to attend college.

The group offers support and provides mentorship, and has continuous dialogue with administrators at the Honors College to advocate for resources to help first-generation students thrive. If you are interested in joining or have questions regarding the leadership group, contact Dr. Angela Rovak, the CHC director of first-year experience, at

TRIO, Student Support Services logo
As a college retention program, TRIO Student Support Services helps undergraduates meet the rigors of higher education and graduate from UO. The program is designed for students whose socioeconomic backgrounds, educational records, and personal situations suggest they may experience challenges that could be alleviated with use of resources offered by TRIO Student Support Services.
Ducks Rise Logo
DucksRISE stands for Research, Internship & Student Engagement. It is a new six-month, cohort-based program focused on bringing equitable post-graduation outcomes for underserved students at UO. It centers its work on supporting BIPOC, first-generation, and low-income students.
McNair Scholars Program logo
The McNair Scholars Program is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential.

UO First-Generation Student Support Blog

Advice for First-Generation Students

Navigating life at college can be difficult for every student. But First-Generation students can face even more difficulties because their parents didn’t attend college and may not be able to offer specific advice on how to handle the experience.

We want to make sure first-generation students have the best advice in front of them to succeed and do well in the Honors College and beyond. Here are some tips to help.

icon of a suited person speaking up upward trends
Get to know your Academic Advisors
While advising may seem formal and just available to talk about registration or university policies, your academic advisors can do much more than just sign off on your schedule for the upcoming term. They’re available to answer your questions, serve as a resource, and guide you through the complicated systems of university life. This means that if you have a question but don’t know who to ask, they can point you in the right direction. If you’re having a problem, they can offer advice and help advocate for you. You have a team of academic advisors that includes CHC Advising and CHC Faculty Advisors, along with advisors in your major or other programs who are here to help with whatever you need.
icon of two persons with circular arrows
Get to know your CHC peers

As a First-Generation student, you might feel isolated or that other students know much more about how to navigate university life. But did you know that nationally, 1 in 3 undergraduates – nearly 5 million students in the U.S. identify as First-Generation students?

You are not alone – and getting to know your CHC peers can help you find your niche here on campus. Sharing experiences allows you to learn from others who have had to figure things out the same way you are doing now.

icon of four people in a team building excersise
Join a team, club, or student organization
Finding community in the CHC is only one aspect of making connections. Consider joining a student organization, club, or team to meet others on campus that have shared interests, passions, or life experiences that are important to you.
icon of a person in a tie in front of a clock showing 4 oclock
Go to office hours
Office hours, student hours, and open hours hosted by faculty and staff are time set aside specifically to engage with students. You might feel uncertain about how to approach office hours, especially if you don’t have any specific questions about course material. But building positive relationships with faculty can result in long-term mentorship, having a trusted person to write letters of recommendation, or even invitations to join research labs or other research activities. You may even discover that many of your instructors are First-Generation students themselves, and ready and willing to share what they have learned about university life.
icon of money between two upraised hands
Gain confidence in your personal finances
Starting college affects your financial reality, and it can be difficult to understand the world of financial aid, scholarships, employment opportunities, or just general personal finance habits. Go to the UO Financial Wellness Center where you can gain the confidence and understanding necessary to help you make smart financial decisions during and after college. Please connect with the Financial Wellness Center if you need assistance.

For more information

Are you interested in learning more about the First-Generation experience in the Clark Honors College?

Contact Dr. Angela Rovak, the CHC director of first-year experience, at