First Generation and Non-traditional Student Guide

This guide contains definitions, links to resources, and tips to help non-traditional and first generation students navigate college at VSU.

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Welcome to VSU!

Going to college can be hard, especially when you are the first person in your immediate family to go or when you attend college as an older student. I remember feeling lost, too shy to talk to anyone, and above all not feeling like I belonged.


Please use this guide to help you support yourself through the days ahead, and feel free to reach out to staff and faculty if you are having trouble. College may not seem like a good fit for you at first, but we are dedicated to supporting you in finding your place here.


The links to the left are different topics that you may want help with. If you would like me to add something or would like some clarification, reach out to me using the profile box on the lower left side of the page or just contact the library and someone will help you.

What is a First Generation or Non-Traditional Student?

First generation student: A student who is the first in their immediate family to go to college. Relatives outside of their parents and siblings may have gone to college such as aunts and uncles. 


Non-traditional student: Non-traditional students are defined as not being admitted soon after graduating high school. They may be older people returning to school to change careers, veterans returning to school after the military, or even parents who are raising children while taking classes. 

Why Combine a Guide for First Generation and Non-Traditional Students?

There is a fair amount of overlap in circumstances that may lead a student to be a first-generation or nontraditional student and someone could be both. This guide’s purpose is to help students adjust to university life by familiarizing them with terms used in college, college departments and offices, services available to students, and other resources.