Thursday, June 12, 2014

First-Generation Mentoring Program
at UNO Gains Momentum

Admissions counselor Toni Schlessinger helps first-generation students at UNO navigate unique challenges and stay on track to success.Admissions counselor Toni Slessinger helps first-generation students at UNO navigate unique challenges and stay on track to success.

Student Success Counselor Nick Fuselier is recruiting new students to participate in the First-Generation Mentoring Program designed for students who are the first in their families to attend college.

First Generation Student Summit

All incoming first-generation college students at UNO are invited to the First Generation Student Summit, a free event.

Join us from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19. Location TBD.

R.S.V.P. Email Nick Fuselier at


The program he started last year pairs students with a mentor on campus and provides special workshops and regular gatherings designed to help first-generation students overcome challenges, stay in school and achieve success.

Studies show that the first member of a family to attend college faces a unique set of challenges, from navigating the financial aid process to facing family separation and understanding jargon and expectations. A new trend in higher education is to single out these students and help them to confront these challenges head-on.

A review of retention rates for the 2012-2013 academic year at UNO showed an 8 percent retention gap between first-generation students who returned the following year and non first-generation students who returned for classes their sophomore year, Fuselier said. He started the mentoring program to provide support.

During its first year, the First-Generation Mentoring Program met with great success, said Fuselier. One hundred percent of the students who participated achieved a 2.0 grade point average or higher, he said. The average GPA among first-generation students was a 2.8. All of the students who participated have already registered for fall classes, an indicator that these students plan to stay in college.

To keep the momentum going, Fuselier is heavily has scheduled a First-Generation Student Summit for all incoming first-generation college students at UNO. The half-day workshop will provide students a review of need-to-know information on pivotal issues from registration and financial aid to time management and other challenges that all students face during their first year.

The workshop, Fuselier said, provides an opportunity for all incoming first-generation college students attending UNO to meet UNO staff and faculty committed to serving first-generation students, to get to know other first-generation students at UNO, to connect with first-generation students who have become leaders on campus and to learn about resources available to first-generation students.


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UNO Unveils Mentoring Program for First-Generation Students