One-third of Connecticut’s college students are first-generation. Yet despite how common this experience is, it can feel incredibly isolating to those living it. First-generation students, or students whose parents or guardians did not complete a four-year degree, spar with a unique set of challenges and concerns — many of which traditional universities struggle to address. As a result, first-gen students are less likely to make it across the stage, diploma in hand.
At Goodwin, the story of first-generation students is a very different narrative. Our university specializes in meeting the needs of diverse learners from all backgrounds. With a first-gen population of over 60%*, our faculty and staff have extensive experience teaching and guiding first-gen students through their higher ed journeys.
Read on to discover 6 reasons why Goodwin is the ideal college for first-generation learners!
*Based on 2022-2023 Institutional Profile
#1: Goodwin supports your academic performance
Your knowledge, skills, and hard work got you into college. Yet, for many, an invasive thought still creeps up: that’s how your classmates got here, too. Consequently, you’re left stressing over how to stay a cut above in this new and competitive environment.
If you’re a first-gen student struggling with imposter syndrome, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, this phenomenon is strikingly present amongst first-generation and graduate students alike. Moreover, first-gen students have less exposure to the ins-and-outs of college life. Consequently, they often don’t feel the same sense of psychological safety as their colleagues.
At Goodwin, we’re ready to quell your academic woes. Our University utilizes the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model — a teaching framework that increases the freedom, flexibility, and accessibility of knowledge.
In addition to being home to UDL-ready faculty, we offer comprehensive academic support services, including free advising for enrolled students. In its mission to support student success and retention, the academic advisement team provides 1-1 guidance — helping you navigate your plan of study and discern your concrete goals.
Goodwin is also home to the Academic Success Center (ASC). Available by appointment or on a walk-in basis, you can receive free tutoring right next to the Hoffman Family Library (or online — it’s up to you!). With 1-1 tutoring and support, you can brush up on your skills, receive real-time feedback, and meet the demands of your college coursework.
#2: Our program flexibility helps balance your obligations
For first-generation students from low-income families, college can prove itself a particularly precarious balancing act. First-gen students are often commuters, working over 20 hours per week to help fund their education and meet other financial needs. As a result, 90% of low-income first-gen students don’t complete their studies on a traditional timeline.
But the Goodwin advantage? We break tradition. Designed with your personal and professional needs in mind, most of our programs offer flexible scheduling. With part-time, full-time, on-campus, hybrid, and online learning opportunities available, the Goodwin experience is for everyone — allowing you to tailor your educational timeline to your unique needs.
#3: We value community connections
When it comes to extracurriculars, first-gen students are less likely to get involved. With other responsibilities occupying their time and less institutional familiarity, less than half of first-generation university-goers immerse themselves in campus life. Beyond clubs and activities, this extends to leadership opportunities, faculty-guided research projects, and paid internships.
As a school that caters to commuters, involvement at Goodwin looks a little different — meaning you can dive into our campus culture without having to spare several weeknights for club meetings and sporting events. Our Office of Student Engagement creates flexible opportunities for you to get involved (and build your resume, too!)
At Goodwin, you’ll also enjoy accessible options for gaining career-ready experience outside the classroom. Many of our programs, ranging from healthcare to human services, provide clinical and internship opportunities throughout the state. Aside from refining your professional skills, this will give you the know-how necessary to enter the field with confidence.
At Goodwin University, you’ll receive support before you even enroll. Our admissions team is ready to help you understand the requirements of each program and walk you through the logistics of applying to college. Learn more about beginning your Goodwin journey today!
#4: Goodwin supports your personal growth
In addition to academic anxiety, many first-gen students struggle with their mental health. Imposter syndrome can give way to feelings of social and emotional isolation — causing anxiety, depression, and increased stress. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for first-generation students to feel a sense of guilt for gaining opportunities their families and communities may not have had.
With cost-free counseling services and events such as Fresh Check Day, Goodwin always makes your mental health a priority. Our experienced counselors work with students across a diverse range of identities and backgrounds. They’re prepared to address the unique difficulties faced by first-gen students — helping provide you with the emotional support and guidance you need to stay well.
#5: We foster financial literacy
While everyone’s financial situation varies, first-gen students are more likely to come from low-income backgrounds or families — meaning they’re more likely to require loans, grants, and scholarships to support their studies.
Aside from being prone to student debt, first-generation students may not receive equal support while navigating the financial aspects of higher education. Whereas many first-time students seek their family’s help when completing FAFSA and other financial documents, first-generation families are less likely to have in-depth knowledge about this process.
As an institute dedicated to accessibility, Goodwin is ready to tailor a financial aid package to your needs. 91%* of our students receive grants or scholarships that don’t require repayment after graduation. Private and federal loans are also available, and work-study can provide eligible students with opportunities to earn a regular paycheck.
*based on fall 2022 degree-seeking student data
In addition to helping you understand your financial options, Goodwin’s Financial Aid team dedicates itself to increasing your financial literacy — teaching financial tools and strategies that carry lifelong applicability. One of these tools is Inceptia, which every Goodwin student has free access to. Through Inceptia, you’ll immerse yourself in 10 financial literacy modules — learning must-know information about credit, identity protection, budgeting, and more.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, Goodwin can offer immediate relief. Visit the Ann B. Clark Co-op — an on-campus food bank where students and staff can access nutritious goods, toiletries, a diaper bank, winter coats, and more. Learn more about the Ann B. Clark Co-op or place an order today!
#6: Become career-ready at Goodwin University
First-generation alums don’t always land the jobs they deserve. For many, especially those from low-income backgrounds, anxiety over financial stability can yield an early yes — leading them to accept low-paying positions that they’re overqualified for.
This phenomenon occurs because first-generation students are less likely to be aware of the career services available to them. Luckily for Goodwin students, however, this isn’t an issue. Our seasoned Career Services team is prepared to meet the needs of first-gen students — having extensive experience providing career support to a diverse student body.
At Goodwin, Career Services takes a proactive, hands-on approach to supporting your professional goals. Through outreach efforts such as seminars, career fairs, class visits, and lunch-and-learns, our career experts will ensure you understand the support that’s available to you. In addition to visiting cohorts across all disciplines, Career Services offers 1-1 support — helping you workshop your resume, prepare for the big interview, and navigate the ups and downs of the job hunt.
A school for first-gen students
With targeted support services ranging from financial aid to academic advising, Goodwin University is the ideal school for first-generation college students. At Goodwin, you’ll never be just another number. We’re here to embrace the one-of-a-kind learner and dreamer that you are — helping provide the guidance you deserve to earn your degree and make it to the finish line.