First Generation Programming Services

What is a First Gen?

This is probably the number one question that I get! According to the Center for First-Generation Student Success, the federal definition indicates first-generation students come from families where their biological parents did not complete a four-year college degree. Unfortunately, there are many nuances to defining the term!

Some institutions may not consider students to be first gen if their parents obtained a college degree outside of the United States. There are also some that do not consider students as first gens even if their parents completed some college classes but did not graduate. Although the Center’s definition is the overall accepted definition, be mindful that it may differ depending on where you look. Unfortunately, data at higher education institutions can be skewed as it is dependent on student’s self-reporting. Some students, such as myself, do not realize that they are first gen until after they graduate!

Fun Fact!

At a recent workshop, a participant mentioned that he had just realized he was a first gen through the information that I provided in my workshop. He is 60 years old! He could have been connected to different resources had he known!

At The First Gen Madrina, we honor this definition, but also acknowledge that the term is fluid.

I consider myself to be a first gen because I was the first in my immediate family to obtain a college degree in the United States. I went on to obtain a Masters degree from Rutgers University in Social Work. I also consider myself to be a first-generation Cuban-American, since I was also the first to be born in the United States.


Many people may refer themselves as first gen when talking about immigrating to this country. They may consider themselves to be first gen if they were the first to be born in the United States, or if they were the first to immigrate to this country. Remember there are many nuances to the term!



Regardless, The First Gen Madrina is open to supporting our community!

If you are a University, College, Company or Organization, The First Gen Madrina offers workshops on a variety of topics (such as imposter syndrome, time management, managing burnout, building a self-care plan, etc..), custom built mentorship programs as well as customized services tailored to the needs of the client.

You can also join Sara, The First Gen Madrina, for individual coaching and/or group coaching. For us, the journey can often feel lonely but that does not mean that you are alone! Check out the Our Services tab on our website for more information!

For more overall support, please check out

Cheering You On,

Sara, The First Gen Madrina