Many Southern graduate students identify as first-generation college students. In fact, first generation or not, many of your peers enter graduate school feeling the same uncertainties as you. You are not alone.

As You Apply

Find information on this website or schedule a virtual information session with one of our Graduate Admissions staff members. Email with the days and times that work best, and someone will reach back out to you!

How to Pay for Grad School

Many of our graduate students take on significant financial burdens when they decide to attend graduate school. That’s why at Southern, paying for your graduate courses isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Learn about options ranging from tuition payment plans to scholarships, financial aid, and competitive fellowships.

Get to Know Us

There’s no better way to discover that you belong at Southern than to attend one of our graduate events. See what’s coming up.

Make your voice heard! Consider attending Graduate Student Affairs Committee meetings. GSAC is dedicated to enhancing the experience of graduate students and acts as an advocacy group to better serve the needs of the graduate student body as a whole. Help your fellow first-generation students build their voice on campus!

Engleman Hall building
Person writing with a pen

Build Relationships and Strategize Your Career Path

Developing and executing a career strategy can feel overwhelming. But, it’s important to know it isn’t a journey you need to figure out alone.

The key is to start making connections and seeking advice early. You do not need to know exactly what kind of work you want to do before approaching advisers, mentors, and other experts to discuss your options.

Connecting with your professors outside of lecture hours is the easiest way to start building relationships within your field. At Southern in particular, our professors are experienced in academia and often work within the larger community. Reach out early and often to make sure you’re heading in the right direction career-wise, and to make sure you’re aware of any departmental opportunities for growth and support.

You should also connect with the Career and Professional Services office as early as your first year of graduate school. Advisers can help you connect with alumni who work in your area of interest, prepare you for interviews, identify employment opportunities, and more.

Get the Writing and Research Support You Need

If there is one final piece of advice we can give you as a first-gen graduate student it’s this – don’t wait until your first assignment is due to get help!

As soon as you can, make an appointment with your field-assigned research librarian. Learning to navigate Southern’s library and online databases early will empower you to get started on your assignments quickly and leave room to seek writing support as you need it.

Writing is one of the most important aspects of graduate school, and the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services offers graduate-level peer tutors who excel in writing to provide support with master’s program material.

Schedule a one-on-one session or learn more about graduate-level writing resources from our Writing Center.

Kyle Augustine

Kyle Augustine
Graduate Student

Journey as a First-Gen Student

My journey in getting to college was not easy. I applied to seven schools, only got into four. The other three were private schools that were expensive. What motivated me to apply to college was making my parents proud. Both of my parents came from Trinidad and Tobago in the 90s and only have their high school diplomas. I went on a Historically Black College tour in 2012. The information I’ve gained from that tour changed my life. When I realized that going to an HBCU is out of my reach. I made a promise to myself, no matter what I will obtain my bachelor’s and become the first male (in my generation) to get my degree. and on May 24th, 2019 I did it. Applying for college was difficult, navigating the application process, applying for Financial Aid, and writing the essay on my own was difficult. Although my parents couldn’t help as much as they wanted. The stuck by me through it all. When I got accepted into SEOP back in 2013, this was my foot in the door, As my former advocate and now co-worker Ms. Sasha Benjamin told me. This is your opportunity, to make a name for yourself here at Southern” don’t loose it. And that is exactly what I did.

Advice for Other First-Gen Students

My advice to other first-gen students is to network, network, and network. your fellow students in your respective major, professors in and outside of your designated majors, Staff members in various departments around campus. Because you will never know where those connections and relationships you build will help you out during your journey.

Challenges to Overcome

During my undergrad, I struggled academically my first couple of semester. I was barely attending class and partying with my friends three nights a week. It wasn’t until my midterm when I became broke and failing two classes. After that my advocate pulled me and gave me a reality check. After that I’ve changed I began utilizing the Tutoring center (before it became the academic success center). I got more involved with joining West Indian Society ( Now it is called the Caribbean Student Association) and Black Student Union. I got involved with an on campus protest with the acquittal of Officer Dorian Johnson for the 2014 murder of Mike Brown.After that I became a prominent leader of color on campus. I wanted to become the best version of myself. I dedicated my time to fighting inequalities for students of color on campus. The connections with faculty and staff of color on campus such as Dr. Siobhan Carter David, Dr. Brandon Hutchinson Dawn Stanton, Dian Brown-Albert and Shermaine Edmonds became family to me and push me beyond my limits. I tell my students every day that in order for you to succeed you must surround yourself with a village. I never really had a mentor or someone to look up to. Now all i can do is be present and be the best advocate for my students. This job really forced me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to discover who ” Kyle Augustine” is and how I can ensure my legacy here at SCSU.