The University is proud to welcome our first generation students to the University. We are happy to have so many students venturing into higher education as the first in your family. We want to support you to make the most of your experience and help you to gain the knowledge and skills to do this effectively.
Who are our first generation students?
First generation students are the first in their family to go to university. From our student data, we know that approximately one third of our UK undergraduate students are first generation. We are aware that first generation are a diverse group of students from a range of different backgrounds.
After speaking to our students we have picked out a few groups that often also fall under this group. These include commuting students, students from Black and Minority Ethnic groups, mature students, students who are parents or carers, part-time students, distance learning or online students and some international students.
You may find it helpful to connect with one or several of these student groups, to meet other students in a similar position to yourself.
What to expect
Whatever your background it's useful to know the basic information about what to expect when you start university. This includes details about teaching methods, what study at university-level is like and how your approach can help you to succeed.
You will be able to pick up this information as you go through your course, but having an idea at the start will help you focus on and enjoy other aspects of your university experience.
'I didn't really know what university was!'
Hear from final year students Hannah (Biomedical Sciences) and Eaad (Mathematics) as they chat about being a first generation student, their experiences of University and their future plans.
Key points to remember for starting your studies
Not everyone starts university from the same place
Try not to let yourself feel intimidated if others seem to know more or understand what's required more than you do. Everyone learns different aspects at different times. Make sure you're connected in to all the different sources of information relating to your studies as well as other students and you'll learn and catch up on the areas you don't know about at the beginning.
There's no such things as a silly question
If you don't understand something, please ask. Your lecturers and tutors would much rather you asked than worry in isolation. You can ask questions discretely if you'd rather by using your academic's office contact hours or via email. Resolving initial queries quickly, means you are less likely to find other issues build on top of them.
You will also find other students to be a useful source of information and knowledge, so connecting with others will help you to keep on top of your learning (and you will most likely return the favour to them at some point).
Feeling like you don't belong is a common feeling amongst students and we believe most people get it at some point (if not various points) in their lives. If you have been offered a place at the University - you do have the ability to study here. Don't let anyone make you feel you don't belong or are not good enough.
Make the most of the opportunities you have at the University
From attending your scheduled teaching and tutorials, to getting involved in a club or society, to finding a mentor or buddy to help you explore campus, these are all really important ways to connect with others at the University and find out about further opportunities.
It takes time to make good friends
Don't worry if you don't make close friendships in the first few weeks - there will be lots of opportunities throughout your time at the University, as long as you get involved and try out new things. Some students we've spoken to believe that it's difficult to make good friends in the first semester or even year, as most students take a while to settle down and feel comfortable being themselves. Many feel they made their good friends later in their courses.
Courteney talks us through her ideal - and totally normal - day at University
First generation student Sophie gives her top tips for feeling prepared
Hannah gives us a whistlestop tour of her three years at Birmingham