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Student Success Online Guide

Student Success guide

Student Success Online Guide


Welcome First-Generation Students!

Being a first-generation college student presents unique opportunities and challenges. We want to help you navigate through the resources available to you. Scroll to find a mix of online, in-print, and in-person resources to connect with. Weblinks include Randolph-Macon College resources and those from the global community. 

This page is part of our broader "Student Success" guide. Using the menu to navigate, you will find helpful links to guide you to the right person, book, film, or website to help you get the most out of your college experience. 

Have a suggestion or questions? Email us at

Looking for resources at Randolph-Macon?

A great place to start is the Randolph-Macon College, Inclusive Engagement First-Generation webpage, with helpful links to people and online resources.

Follow Harlan Cohen for advice on "all things" college.

Thriving as a First-Generation Student - Books

Spread Your Wings and FLI (print and eBook)

Spread Your Wings and FLI: How to Effectively Navigate College as a First-Generation, Low-Income Student is chock full of inspiration and actionable resources FLI students need to be successful in college and prepare for life after their undergraduate experience. Inside this book you will learn: What faculty/advisors/professors today can do to further support the development of FLI students. How FLI allies can help advocate for the resources FLI students need. How FLI identity intersects with other marginalized identity types. 

Know That You Are Worthy (print)

Thirty-one alumni who were the first in their family to obtain a college degree share their experiences as first-generation students in this noteworthy new text. Their stories illuminate how the struggles of first-generation students are primarily due to a combination of multiple social inequities that are ignored, reinforced, and perpetuated by exclusive college systems. Speaking directly to current and future first-generation students, the authors offer tips and advice for success, along with powerful words of encouragement. Faculty and staff will also benefit from reading this book, as the authors describe a more equitable system in which universities are enriched by the wisdom, experiences, and talents of first-generation students while promoting a generative culture for all learners.

50 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About College (print)

Real-world advice for first-generation college students FROM first-generation college graduates. Each author understands the challenges of being the first person in your entire family to attend college. This book is full of practical, common sense advice that will save you both time and money because it was gained through the struggles and challenges overcome by first-generation students. A must have for any first-generation student or for any college student whose parents have been out of school for more than 10 years.

Crack the Code (print)

Start college with your own wise mentor-in-a-book. Be prepared for challenges and opportunities by learning from the experiences of dozens of First Generation students who speak to you in this Guide about what they wished they had known and now, want you to know.

The Hidden Curriculum (print)

The Hidden Curriculum gives essential guidance on the critical questions that university leaders need to consider as they strive to support first generation students on campus, and demonstrates how universities can balance historical legacies and elite status with practices and policies that are equitable and inclusive for all students.

Decoding College (print)

Unlike the multitude of college guides available on the market today, Decoding College utilizes first-person accounts told by students on their journey to and through college to provide readers with fresh and vibrant illustrations of each concept. Decoding College doesn't just tell the reader about college, it lets the reader live college vicariously through the experiences of real students on real college campuses. Some stories are inspirational and some are devastating, but each and every one offers an inside glimpse into the challenges, struggles, and successes of those who dare to be the first in their family to go to college.

Rising Class (print)

Making it through the first year of college is tough. What makes it even tougher is being the first in your family to do so. Who can you turn to when you need advice? Rising Class follows three first-generation freshmen, Briani, Conner, and Jacklynn, as they not only experience their first semester of college, but the COVID-19 pandemic that turned their Spring semester upside down. From life in the ivy league to classes at a community college, this nonfiction book follows these students' challenges, successes, and dreams as they tackle their first year of college and juggle responsibilities to their families back home.


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front cover Connections Are Everything

Information Literacy Film Series

Become information literate! Not sure what that means? Watch this short series of videos to learn what it is and how becoming information literate will help you both as a student and in your future endeavors.