UCSF First Gen Visibility - Story

Students Who Are First in Their Family to Attend College Share Stories, Experiences

Nearly one-third of the students at UC San Francisco are the first in their families to graduate from college.

As we spoke with several students across UCSF, common threads emerged from their unique stories. Nearly everyone spoke of learning to ask for help, however uncomfortable – from applying to college, to studying for classes, to identifying a career path. Many were familiar with imposter syndrome, feeling out of their depth and as if they would never catch up. Some said that the pressure to grasp every precious opportunity – the fear-of-missing-out – could be a double-edged sword that led to stress. They all hoped that their experiences would pave the way for younger siblings, cousins, or others in their community.

“It’s so important for first-gen students to know that they are not alone and that UCSF supports and celebrates their successes,” said Alece Alderson, acting assistant vice chancellor for Student Life. “First-gen students are resilient and their background experiences will help them excel in their fields. Our First Generation Support Services offers a variety of mentoring and community-building programs for our amazing first-gen students.”

Each of these student’s stories is also a story of their parents, who were denied by circumstance higher education (or in some cases, any education at all) and worked hard to make it a possibility for their children.

Read more about a few of our first-gen students.