First-Generation College Students

A First-Generation College Student Guide to Graduate Studies

Who Are First-Gen Students?

First-generation college students are students whose parents or legal guardians do not have a four-year college degree.

Three first-generation staff members from The Graduate College smile while holding a sign that says "We are first-gen!"

A Message from the Dean

Congratulations on being a first-generation college student!

Being the first member of your family to earn an undergraduate degree is a remarkable accomplishment of which you should be exceptionally proud.

We in The Graduate College recognize your talents, commitment, and perseverance. We would like to encourage and empower you to reach higher as you pursue your graduate degree. While going to graduate school is certainly an investment of time and effort, it is also a worthwhile endeavor that will lead to personal growth, greater career advancement, and a higher earning potential.

Our university has a proven track record of helping first-gen students succeed in graduate education. In fact, approximately one-third of our 4,000+ graduate students self identify as first-gen students. Many of our faculty members were also first-gen students and thus understand the experience firsthand. The Graduate College and other on-campus departments offer numerous resources to help you attain your academic goals.

We look forward to being a part of your academic journey and providing you with all the necessary tools to ensure your success!

Best wishes,

Andrea Golato, Ph.D.
Dean, The Graduate College

Reach Higher

A graduate degree will help you gain specialized knowledge, advance in your career, increase your earning potential, attain greater recognition and credibility, enhance your professional network, and more. The Graduate College provides a wide range of support services to help you achieve your goals. We are here to support you every step of the way from application to graduation!

Get Started

  • Start early and attend one of our Graduate Information Sessions for a graduate studies overview.
  • Hear from first-gen graduate degree holders about their experience in graduate education, challenges they overcame, and resources they found useful at Once a First-Gen, Always First-Gen, a special information session that includes a panel discussion and networking reception.
  • Explore our 100+ programs to learn about degree options and career paths.
  • Contact The Graduate College for general questions related to programs, admissions, funding, and more.
  • Meet with the graduate advisor of your program of interest to discuss program-specific information.
  • Review your application materials at one of our Graduate Application Boot Camps to receive hands-on help from experts.

Fund Your Degree

  • Master's and doctoral students may be employed as teaching assistants, instructional assistants, research assistants, or graduate assistants.
  • We offer internal funding through a variety of scholarships and fellowships for new, continuing, and prospective students.
  • External funding is awarded by outside entities. You can view 1,400+ opportunities in our online database.
  • Our external funding coordinator provides one-on-one assistance with the entire application process for external opportunities.
  • Travel funding is available to support your participation in conferences in Texas, the U.S. and beyond.
  • Graduate aid is provided by Financial Aid and Scholarships.
  • Review payment options, which include enrolling in a payment plan or applying for an emergency loan plan.
  • AIE, a personalized, confidential financial coaching service, provides trained coaches that are ready to answer your questions about finances. This free service is designed to help you make smart financial decisions.

Be Part of Our Community

When you join the graduate community at Texas State, you will find many opportunities outside of class to continue your professional development, connect with other students and build your network on campus.

  • Graduate College Shop Talks
    This professional development series is tailored exclusively to graduate students and prepares you for graduate school and beyond. These workshops help you adjust to graduate life by covering topics like time management, writing techniques, research support, career planning, and more.
  • International Research Conference for Graduate Students
    This annual academic conference celebrates original graduate research. It provides you with the opportunity to present your research in a panel or poster sessions and network with faculty and graduate students.
  • Graduate House of Representatives
    The House serves as the primary student government advocate for all graduate students by listening and acting transparently as a liaison between students, the university and surrounding communities.

First-Gen Stories

We have collected stories and advice to help our first-gen community thrive. Texas State first-gen students, alumni, faculty, and staff share their graduate experiences.