First Generation Success Program

Get Started at WPI

You may be the first in your family to attend—and graduate from—a four-year college or university, but you’re not alone. In fact, hundreds of students, staff, and faculty members are or were first-generation students. WPI's First Generation Success Program is here to help you get connected to other first-generation students, as well as the academic and social resources you need to help you achieve your goals.

In addition to one-on-one support and advising, first gen centered programming such as networking events, movies, dinners, panels, and First Friday events are all available for students to take advantage of. Below are a number of resources to answer questions you may have.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME)
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
Phone: 508-831-5796


The mission of WPI’s program is to optimize access to campus resources and support for first-year students who identify as first generation. The program is designed to foster student’s personal, academic, and professional development at WPI through programming, mentorship, and a residential community. 

WPI is committed to providing support for First Generation students. The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education, the Division of Enrollment Management, the Division of Talent & Inclusion, and the Division of Student Affairs aim to provide informative events and support for First Generation community members.

Have questions about anything?  Email


What does First Generation mean to WPI?

First Generation is any student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) have not completed a 4-year (Bachelor’s) degree in the United States.


Did You Know?

Famous Firsts to Attend College

  • Oprah Winfrey, American television host, actress, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur
  • Michelle Obama, former first lady
  • Colin Powell, first African-American Secretary of State
  • Howard Schultz, former CEO and chairman of Starbucks
  • Viola Davis, actress
  • Barney Frank, former U.S. Congressman and first openly gay member of Congress 

Get Involved!

WPI offers over 250 different clubs and organizations for you to get involved in. Can't find what you're looking for? Help to start a club or organization on campus!

Getting involved in an extracurricular activity helps you to meet new people, share your talents and interests, and even discover a newfound passion you may never have found before.


For Students

Words to Know

Sometimes it seems like college has its own language. To get an understanding of the linguistics of higher education, check out this useful Higher Education Glossary created by U.S. News and World Report.

Innovations Residential Community

The mission of WPI’s Innovations Residential Community (RC) is to optimize access to campus resources and support for students who identify as first generation and to foster their personal, academic, and professional development at WPI. Find out more about Innovations.

Recommendations for First-Generation College Students

Regular Decision

First-generation students are more likely to live off-campus, work while taking classes, and be enrolled part-time than their non first-generation counterparts. By becoming involved on campus, you may receive the support you need and begin to feel more integrated with other college students. Join groups, organizations, or support groups that are of interest to you. Also, talk with people you trust, perhaps your families and friends, about what you are experiencing as you adjust to college and a new environment.

Kaamil Lokhandwala

In times of transition, it can be helpful for individuals to communicate what they are experiencing and what they need from one another. As you grow and develop, you may begin to feel different from your family and peers. This is a natural process for all college students, and it can be helpful to share your experiences with each other.

Use resources

Take advantage of mentoring programs as well as the variety of offices and programs designed to assist you. WPI has offices for underrepresented students, advising programs, tutoring programs, financial aid programs, and the counseling centers. These services can help you navigate the college terrain as well as feel understood and connected. You can also benefit from getting to know an upper-level student who can show you the ropes. Finding a first-generation college student who has already been there a few years can be especially helpful as he or she can share tips on how to deal with the first year of college.  We have some upper-level mentors to assist.

Undergraduate Studies

You do have a lot to juggle! With the demands of academics, work, family, and a social life, it is important that you find a way to balance competing needs. Time management is essential, and having a schedule can help you manage those competing interests and demands. Remember that the perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness, and hard work that helped you get in to college will also help keep you here.

First Generation Recognition


Strive Five

WPI is engaged in a partnership with nonprofit UStrive in a commitment to to enrolling, graduating, and strengthening college opportunities for low-income, first-generation college students. UStrive and WPI promote college opportunities and work to lower the first-gen college dropout rate through an online mentoring program and college matching tools.
UStrive recognizes WPI for its completion rates—exceeding the national averages for retention and graduation rate, plus for outcomes in which more than 25% of graduates from the bottom fifth of incomes as students have moved to the top fifth as adults.


First-Gen Forward

WPI is a proud member of the First-Gen Forward 2020-2021 cohort, the nation's first recognition program acknowledging higher education institutions for their commitment to first-generation student success.