First Generation Program

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For more information contact:
Sarah Jiter

Assistant Dean of First Year Programs

Eureka College
Student Programs and Services
300 East College Ave.
Eureka, IL 61530-1500
Telephone: 309-467-6436

Are you a first-generation college student?

First-generation college students are those students whose parents have not completed a four-year college degree. Many smart and talented first-generation students benefit from additional information and support as they begin to adjust to the college environment.  It can be helpful to learn more about what other first-generation students have experienced as well as what can be done to maximize your performance and experience as you work towards attaining your college degree.

Eureka College’s First-Generation Program helps YOU, the student, build confidence to meet the new expectations and challenges of coming to college.  Our program is designed specifically to develop social opportunities that provide support and attention from EC faculty, staff, and fellow first-generation students.  You’ll join in activities that will inspire you through interaction with cultural events and the arts.  You’ll share events with professors, staff members, and fellow classmates throughout the academic year – many in Chicago, St. Louis, and beyond!


Typical events and sessions in an academic year

First-Generation “Early College” Program

The First-generation “Early College” program in the Humanities and Arts is the first event in a year-long series that will help you explore all aspects of the college and give you the support you need to succeed at Eureka College.

The program focuses on exploring the humanities and arts.  First-generation students often arrive at Eureka College intending to pursue “practical” majors such as education or business and many of these students will major in these or other pre-professional majors. However, Eureka College believes that have a responsibility to show our students how a liberal arts education prepares them for their careers and the inevitable changes they will experience during the course of their careers.

In workshops, small group discussions, and over meals, the students will interact with faculty members in the humanities and the arts and discuss questions about the human condition, spirituality, and creative and expressive responses to the world. Through these interactions, we want to enable students to explore humanities and arts disciplines that are often very different from how they perceived them in high school.

First-Generation Dinners

Each academic year, we host two dinners for our first-year first-generations students, one in October and one in April, to bring the students together with successful first-generation alumni, faculty, staff, and administration. At the two dinners, these and other members of our community will discuss their own experiences as first-generation students.

Cultural Events Series

The program takes the first-year, first-generation students to three cultural events each academic year: one Symphony, one Ballet, and one Theater. These events allow us to continue conversations throughout the year about the arts. Last year’s cultural events were:

  • Broadway Theater Performance in Chicago
  • Heartland Festival Orchestra Performance in Washington
  • The Joffrey Ballet & The Art Institute of Chicago

First Generation Parents

They’ll have questions too!

During Welcome Week, first-year, first-generation parents are invited to a First Generation Parent Orientation.  At this session parents will receive information about different facets of the College: FERPA, the Role of Advisors, Academic Status and Progress, Financial Aid, Resources Available at the Learning Center, Athletic Eligibility Rules, and important programs run by the Student Programs and Services office.


First-Generation Peer Mentors

Peer Mentors are upperclassmen who serve as a front line representative for the First-generation program and work closely with up to 5 first-year students.  Peer Mentors are responsible for meeting several times each semester with these students to mentor them and will also assist the Coordinators of the First-generation Program in planning the year-long activities.  All Peer Mentors are expected to represent Eureka College in a professional manner and serve as a role model, displaying positive behaviors for other students.