Join First Generation Harvard Alumni!

"First Generation" is a group of Harvard alumni who are the first members of their families to attend college and who seek to support current first-generation students. Our mission is to make Harvard a better place for current first-generation students and help them to navigate Harvard successfully. We achieve this goal through mentoring, advocacy and providing networking opportunities. Thanks to the generosity of the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, first-generation students make up a substantial portion (up to 18%) of today’s undergraduate student body.

Mentoring

Every summer, first-generation students may request a mentor for their freshman year.  First Generation Alumni are matched with students based on interest, location, background and other characteristics.  Mentors and students determine how and when they will meet or chat throughout the year and the time commitment is usually less than two hours per month. In 2015-16, the fourth year of this program, 117 mentors were matched with 134 first-generation students.  In 2016-17, we also matched more than 100 mentors with over 100 mentees.  Applicatons to participate in the mentorship program are now available here. Application deadline for 2017-18 has passed.

Networking

Throughout the year, and especially from January through March, students seek career advice.  In 2015 and 2016, FGHA hosted well-attended panel discussions at Harvard FGHA alumni through the Office of Career Services. If you would like to serve on a panel, have time to review a few resumes or offer informational interviews, please let us know. Networking also takes place informally at social events in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Advocacy

From time to time, First Generation Alumni voices help current students bring the administration’s attention to their needs.  Advocates of first-generation students also participate in gatherings on to welcome students, at Parents’ Weekend, with Admissions and the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative in April, and at ad hoc dinners during each semester.

Recent Events

First Gen and Low Income Student Advocate

The Freshman Dean's Office has hired a Student Advocate for the 2017-18 academic year to advise and support first generation and low income students during their first year.  Stay tuned for the announcement from the Freshmen Dean's Office.  For more information, contact Jasmine Waddell here.

Harvard Alumni Association Highlights FGHA

The HAA presents "What's Your SIG?" - a series of conversations with members of various SIGs about what their communities mean to them.  Kevin Jennings and First Generation Harvard Alumni are highlighted in April here.  http://alumni.harvard.edu/stories/whats-your-sig-first-generation-harvard-alumni

Follow the Conversation

Secveral articles have appeared recently in The Harvard Crimson regarding proposals for pre-orientation programing for first generation and low income students.  Follow the news as it unfolds . . .

FGHA Vice-chair Dan Lobo '14 expresses his opinion in the Crimson with a letter to first generation students on April 6, 2017.  

Read the opinion piece in The Crimson calling for a summer enrichment program for first generation students by Savannah Fritz '17 and another opinion piece describing life as a First Gen student at Harvard by Jessenia Class '20.

Find out more about the rejection of a proposal for a First Year Institute in this Crimson article from March 28, 2017.

Learn more about Dean Khurana's response to student questions at the Undergraduate Council meeting in this April 3, 2017 Crimson article and in this new opinion piece on April 15. The Crimson Editorial Board called for both pre- and post-matriculation programs in this new opinion piece on April 19.

Latest News

Dean Khurana rejects low-income student summer program

The Dean of the College turned down a request to fund the First Year Institute, proposing a part-time position in the Freshman Dean's Office instead. More from the Crimson:...

We Can't Wait Another Year

In an opinion piece in The Harvard Crimson, Savannah Fritz, '17 describes her experience as a first generation student at...
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