First Generation Warriors


It can be challenging for first-generation students who are the first in their families to attend college, as they may not fully understand what to expect. They may also need more financial resources and a lack of support networks. These are genuine and valid challenges, and it's essential to recognize and empathize with the unique obstacles they may face. Despite firstgeneration college students' challenges, many overcome these obstacles and achieve academic and professional success. Being the first in your family to attend college is a remarkable accomplishment, a testament to their unwavering determination and tireless effort.

New Jersey City University is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all students, especially those with identities that have been historically marginalized, like first-generation college students. As a Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution, we take pride in that over half of our students are making history by becoming the first generation in their families to earn a college degree. Our faculty and staff, many of whom were also first-generation college students, understand the pride and pressures associated with this identity and are fully committed to supporting students to realize their full potential and achieve their goals.

As part of our commitment to fostering a sense of community and belonging, it is essential to highlight the identity of being a first-generation college student as a point of pride. With this, we fondly refer to our first-generation college students as "First-Gen Warriors". Like warriors, first-generation college students typically have to break down barriers to achieve a college degree as a mechanism for upward social mobility for themselves and their families. NJCU firstgeneration Gothic Knights are brave trailblazers who embody our "Enter to Learn and Exit to Serve" motto.

First Generation College Celebration


The First-Generation College Celebration (FGCC) is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of the experiences and achievements of first-generation college students. It seeks to promote a positive national narrative highlighting these students' strengths and resilience. The celebration takes place every year on or around November 8. It acknowledges and elevates the identities and contributions of current and former first-generation college students.

Through this event, we encourage our NJCU community to understand better the challenges our first-generation college students face. We also aim to gather resources to engage our campus and community. By doing so, we can work to overcome the systemic barriers that hinder access to higher education for this critical and resilient population. At NJCU, we eagerly anticipate this time of year to celebrate and uplift our "First-Gen Warriors," the trailblazing First-Generation College students in our community.

First Generation Spotlight

New Jersey City University is proud to have a community where approximately 54% of the students are the first in their families to attend college. This includes not only our students, but also our faculty and professional staff. We would like you to meet some of the members of our NJCU 1st Generation Community.


Jose Balda

Assistant Vice President of Admissions & Enrollment Management


Hanae Haouari

 Chemistry Faculty


Alice Johnson

 Marketing BS, Class of 2024

The First Generation Experience

sandy checo standing

First-Generation College Students (FGCS) embark on an academic journey that tests their commitment, resilience, and character. This workshop recognizes and validates FGSC experiences using a community healing model hosted by Mrs. Sandy Checo. Sandy is an Academic Advisor enrolled in an M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She volunteers with non-profit organizations that share her mission of empowering individuals through civic engagement, diversity training, and leadership development.

Student Pop-Up

The Pop-Up event allows NJCU students to connect with the community and receive support to make the most of their academic journey. Students can access a wide range of resources available on campus that will help them succeed as a First-Generation Warrior.


First Generation Soiree


The First-Generation Soiree is an amazing occasion that unites our NJCU community. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our incredible First-Gen Warriors and express appreciation towards them. There will also be music and dance, allowing you to unwind and create unforgettable memories. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable and enjoyable experience!

First-Generation Resources

At New Jersey City University, we take pride in supporting first-generation students. Our mission is to empower you to achieve greatness and to assist you in overcoming any obstacles that may come your way. If you have any questions or need additional support, please know that our team is always here. Together, let's embark on a journey of success and make your dreams a reality!

Resources for First-Generation College Students Handout