First-Generation Students

Seize Your Superpower

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First-generation students embark on the college journey with unique access to endless possibilities. During this process, it is very normal to encounter new challenges; whether you miss home, yearn to feel “a sense of belonging,” or doubt your abilities, you are not alone. Resources are available to help you achieve your goals.

We believe in the power of first-generation students to transform the world of work. Use this page to launch your career into uncharted territory and move forward with support from Career Services.



Key Campus Resources @ UCSB

Explore Grad School: First-Generation Students

For complete information on graduate school search strategies and the application process, review our starter tips to Explore Grad School in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Deciding on Grad School

Earning a college degree is an extraordinary feat, let alone the accomplishment of being the first in your family to voyage through this unchartered territory.

As a first-generation student, there is often a subtle, yet constant reminder that education is highly valued, and knowledge is power. However, it is important to also evaluate the specific value of the advanced degree(s) you are considering for your career. Many career paths do not require graduate degrees to reach success, and many others require very specific graduate degrees that require advanced planning. 

Conducting this type of career research is key, as it usually impacts other important aspects and timeline considerations within your life (e.g., reducing student debt and gaining first-hand experience). Furthermore, when evaluating programs to apply to and attend, always think critically about national ranking systems and institutional prestige. What matters most is that the graduate program offers you exactly what you are looking for (e.g., curriculum, faculty mentorships, financial assistance, internships) in order to reach success in your career.

Graduate school is best evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so be sure to check out our Grad School 101 page for more details to guide your exploration.


Resources for Applications

If you wish to attend graduate school, paying for multiple applications can start to add up. There are numerous resources that provide financial waivers to help offset costs, like the GRE Fee Reduction and the AS/EOP Grants.


If you intend to pursue a Ph.D., you may also be interested in applying for the McNairs Scholars Program.

Gap Years

Lastly, keep in mind that it can be strategic to take one or several "Gap Years" before pursuing further education after earning your Bachelor's degree. Oftentimes, working full-time to save money and identify your next steps will help you grow toward your chosen career path. You can read more about this on our Grad School 101 page.