The First To Go program at Loyola Marymount University offers students valuable resources and opportunities for academic, professional, and personal growth. It is our mission to emphasize the unique cultural capital first-generation college students bring into the university in an attempt to create a community that will help our students thrive during their tenure at LMU.
“The First To Go program facilitates successful transition of first-generation students into the university.”
We believe a productive transition into the university is an essential component of academic success, and we are especially interested in first-year and transfer students.
The First To Go Scholars Program provides an intensive academic experience for a select group of incoming freshman who take two classes together per semester—a course in the CORE and a 1-unit seminar that explores the first generation college experience.
Additionally, we offer a 1-unit seminar for first-gen transfer students that aids them in their transition to LMU academically and explores their first-gen and transfer experiences.
Workshops for high school students and parents are also available to help prepare them for what the college experience can feel like for a first-generation student.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY TO PROMOTE ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL SUCCESS
“The First To Go program will help students build an academic community and a social/professional network to promote academic and personal success.”
One important component of First To Go is the mentoring program, where students are paired with LMU faculty and staff who are also the first in their families to attend college. These mentoring relationships can facilitate academic and professional development, as well as personal and spiritual growth.
In 2016, a peer mentor program was created for first-year students. These peer to peer relationships can assist our first-year students in their transition to LMU academically and socially. These relationships strengthen the sense of community embedded in the foundation of this program.
We also offer various networking events and programs throughout the semester—from our annual welcome mixer to partnerships with the colleges, Study Abroad, Student Success and Ethnic and Intercultural Services —the collaborations are designed to introduce students to campus resources and to build community within the program.
ENGAGEMENT IF THE ACADEMIC LIFE OF THE INSTUTITION
“The First To Go empowers students to fully engage in the academic life of institutions.”
We believe that it is important to prepare our students to participate in the academic discourses that surround them and expose educational opportunities that will set them up for academic success. As part of the First To Go community, students have opportunities to present research, publish personal narratives, co-facilitate First To Go courses, and discuss their experiences with university administrators and department chairs.
From providing public forums for expression to exposing hidden curriculum, we seek to familiarize students with the conventions of academic discourse that express the culture of the university, and we emphasize the connections between language, knowledge, and power in an effort to help our students develop strong voices that will prepare them for post-graduate work in research or graduate/professional school.
With resource support from the Katz Family Academic Skills Program, the University Advisors of the Academic Resource Center and direct liaisons with various representatives from the schools and colleges of the university, students are empowered to take advantage of the academic tools and relationships that will ensure their academic success at the institution.
PREPARATION FOR POST-GRADUATE SUCCESS
“The First To Go prepares students for post-graduation success”
Our partnerships with the Academic Community of Excellence, the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research expose first-gen students to graduate and professional school and research opportunities that will set them up for academic post-graduate success. With a continued sense of community and support, First To Go students will continue to thrive at LMU.
Our partnership with Career and Professional Development (CPD) has aided students in their post-graduate plans. Workshops, one on one appointments and events sponsored by CPD provide students with opportunities geared toward preparing students for the life off the bluff.
First To Go offers domestic and international experiences which expose students to a new perspective, different cultures and a sense of global citizenship. Our partnership with the Center for Service and Action for the Alterative Break to Chicago, Illinois and the Study Abroad office for the program to the Dominican Republic fully engage students and have an impact that will lead them fulfill Jesuit and Marymount values in their daily lives.
ADVOCATE FOR INSTITUTIONAL TRANSFORMATION
“First To Go advocates for institutional transformation around the assets and needs of first-generation students”
The First To Go program is designed to help students build cultural capital; however, we believe it is essential to challenge the stereotype that first-generation college students enter the university academically unprepared and ill-equipped to meet the demands of higher education. The various types of cultural capital these students possess—resilience, persistence, resourcefulness, and dedication, among many other valuable qualities—are powerful determinants of success at the university level. As an academic support program, we encourage students to draw from their supplies of cultural capital as we help ease transition, make visible useful resources, and encourage active participation in university culture.
We continue to engage the university and administration through our First-Gen Awareness Week, the First-Gen Voices publication and faculty trainings through the Center for Teaching Excellence. With exposure to the first-gen experience, the campus community will have a better understanding of the work needed to meet the needs of this growing population, while also acknowledging and celebrating a student’s narrative and success.