First Generation College Students

At Washington and Lee University, a student identifies as a first generation college student if neither parent/legal guardian graduated from a four-year college or university with a bachelor's degree or equivalent in the United States of America.

Washington and Lee University recognizes that being the first in your family is a huge accomplishment, and we are excited to cheer you on as you as you embark on this journey. We want to ensure that you have access to all the resources and support you may need as you learn and grow with us. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding the application process, financial aid, academics, and social life. While we offer year-round events for you and your family to learn about life at W&L and beyond, we recognize that mentors, professors, and peers can serve as valuable resources. Your faculty adviser, professors, resident adviser, peer counselor, and class deans believe in keeping their doors open and are available to talk with you. While college can present many challenges, at W&L you won't be alone.

We know parents and guardians play an important role in your life and we want to equip them with the tools they need to assist you. We offer sessions for parents of first generation students during parent-orientation, our first-year student move-in weekend, and again during parents and family weekend. Deans Jason Rodocker, Ronda Bryant, Kyle McCoil and Megan Hobb were first-generation students who now have graduate degrees. Please contact your class dean if you have any questions or concerns at any time or would like to be connected with other first-generation students. For first-generation programming and support please contact Heidi Bustos.

Programs and Events


The Office of Inclusion and Engagement works collaboratively with different campus partners and student organizations to create intentional and meaningful programs and events for our students.

Here are some upcoming events to celebrate our first-generation college students.

  • First-Generation Student Welcome Reception | September 12, 2024

To welcome our first year first-generation students, the Office of Inclusion and Engagement will host a welcome reception on Thursday September 12, 2024 from 4-6pm in Evans Dinning Hall.

  • First-Generation Etiquette Dinner |

The First-Generation, Low-Income Team (LIFT) in collaboration with the Office of Inclusion and Engagement and the Office of Career and Professional Development will host the "First-Generation Etiquette Dinner" on Tuesday October 10, 2023 from 5:30-7:00pm in Evans Dinning Hall.

  • National First-Generation College Day | November 8, 2024

In celebration of the annual National First-Generation College Student Day, the Office of Inclusion and Engagement will host a series of events to celebrate the presence and experiences of our first-generation college students, faculty, and staff at W&L.

First Generation Students, Faculty and Staff

If you are a first-generation college student, faculty or staff member and would like to get email updates of upcoming events please fill out the link:


First-Generation and Low-Income Alumni Mentorship Program

We are excited to announce the launch of the First-Generation and Low-Income Mentorship Program, presented by LIFT and QuestBridge student organizations and sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement and Office of Inclusion and Engagement.

LIFT - The Low-Income, First-Generation Team

Learn more about LIFT - the Low-Income, First-Generation Team @ W&L! The Low-Income, First-Generation Team (LIFT) is led and comprised of W&L students who are passionate about providing resources for first-generation and/or low-income students as well as creating a supportive community on campus.

WLU Higher Education Dictionary

We acknowledge that universities may have an intricate language of their own. We have provided a list to some college-related terminology that you may encounter throughout your time at W&L.

WLU First-Generation Directory

Our support for First-Gen students come from a good place - within our own ranks. There are faculty and staff members within the W&L community who themselves were first generation college student and they are available as a resource and support structure for others.