First Cats supports students from the time they enter the University of Arizona through graduation, and any time in between. We are a community of first-generation students and staff that will support you throughout your college journey. We invite you to explore the many program offerings below and get connected with First Cats.
A first-generation college student is defined as a student who has had one of these life experiences:
- A student who comes from a home where neither parent/legal guardian has completed a four-year college degree (typically a bachelor's degree or higher); OR
- A student whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a country outside of the United States; OR
- A student who has separated or divorced parents and the parent with primary custody, or with whom the student lives with a majority of the time, does not have a bachelor’s degree; OR
- A student who was/is a homeless youth, has experienced foster care, or has been a ward of the state.
First Cats believes in the value of peer mentoring. During the first year, students are paired with a peer mentor, a current UArizona student who was in their first-year not too long ago. Through one-on-one meetings with a peer mentor and interactive group sessions, First Cats focuses on successfully tackling the transition to college, getting involved on campus, mastering time management, setting goals, networking, problem solving, resume building and much more! All while connecting with other first-gen college students.
By getting involved with First Cats you will have the opportunity to meet new people and be surrounded by a community committed to your success.
During the second year, First Cats have the opportunity to meet with a peer mentor and participate in interactive group sessions on a monthly basis. The second year is focused on solidifying a major, exploring possible career paths, understanding the difference between graduate school and the workforce, building a resume, and making a detailed plan for the remainder of your time at UArizona.
During the third year, First Cats focuses on preparing for what comes after college -- graduate/professional school or the workforce.
GRADUATE & PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL PREPARATION SERIES: This is a 5-week seminar series focused on the graduate and professional school experience, including how to choose a school, the application process, and creating drafts of your application materials. This is focused on the first-generation college student perspective to applying for graduate or professional school.
WORKFORCE PREPARATION SERIES: This is a 5-week seminar series focused on preparing to enter the workforce after graduation. During this time, you’ll explore job prospects for your field, experience needed, interview skills, and preparing your resume. This is focused on the first-generation college student perspective to help enter the work force.
Registration for both seminar series is open every August and January. Sessions begin in September and February. Registration is currently closed for this semester, but students are still able to connect at any time throughout the year with one of our First Cats outreach coordinators for individual planning in these areas.
During the fourth year, First Cats focuses on life after college - from paying back student loans, making major life purchases, reflecting on the impact of their college journey, to negotiating career and graduate school opportunities. We offer these discussions through one-on-one meetings with our financial wellness coordinator as well as Teach and Share discussions.