First-Generation Support
American University is committed to enhancing the experience of 
first-generation students through providing resources, support, and guidance to successfully achieve degree completion.

Am I First-Generation?

 AU defines first-generation as students whose parent(s) or guardian(s) have never attended a college or university. 

No matter the definition, if you consider yourself to be the first in your family to attend college, first in your family to receive a four-year degree, or first in your family to do many great things, you are not alone! Step up and let us know your experience here at AU. 
Get out there and educate, inform, and inspire others!
  • "Five Questions With..."
  • Caroline DeLeon
  • Coordinator, Multicultural and 
    First-Generation Programming
    Center for Diversity & Inclusion
  • Hi everyone! As a fellow  
    first-generation student, let me start off by congratulating you on a job well-done for getting this far! I  am sure there have been a host of questions, excitement, doubt, and waves of adrenaline along the way. For now, put that all behind and remember, you're in our nation's capitol! You are here and there is no looking back. 
  • Why AU?  
    I receive my Bachelor's degree from Alfred University located in Western New York and Master's degree from the George Washington University. I literally found the best of both my former experiences, AU in DC. What more could I ask for?
  • What does being first-generation mean to you?
    With family roots in Guatemala, I am among the first of my siblings to attend college. Looking back on my experience, sure, there are things I would have done differently knowing what I know now. None the less, I am thankful for all of it. The good, the bad, and the "I'm sorry, can you repeat the question?" 
  • Was there anything you were confused by during college? 
    Not knowing what an academic advisor was, let alone what I wanted to study was a battle all in its self. I felt very alone for a long time because I thought I was the only one that was struggling with having to take on so much responsibility. Needless to say, alone was the furthest thing from reality and over time learned to ask important questions to help make progress for myself.  
  • What are you most looking forward to this semester?
    I am really excited to be participating as a staff leader for the Alternative Spring Break trip to Cuba. I had a limited study abroad experience during undergrad and am excited about this opportunity!
What is your favorite dessert?
I love, love, love ice cream! It can never be too cold and I am an avid fan of Ben & Jerry's.

Main Logo with AU logo
"Once you start working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest." - Chanakya 


Happy New Year! Our fall semester has come to a close and 2014 is a new year and a fresh start for new beginnings. For those of you
new to AU, WELCOME! For those of you returning to AU, WELCOME BACKThe Center for Diversity & Inclusion is excited to kick off the semester strong and help support you along the way.
Did you know that 10.4% of AU's fall 2013 incoming class are the first in their family to attend college? That's HUGE, and we're thrilled to welcome each and every one of you to the AU community. 



As we start this year, we hope you are feeling confident in your ability to navigate the AU campus and resources that are available for you. Whether it is your first semester on campus or your last, there are always new departments, offices, and people to connect with. The AU campus is full of interesting opportunities for you to connect with people, broaden your network of friends and mentors, and enjoy locations to study or hang out. It takes some time to find your niche, but once you find that special location or people, it's like it has been there all along.


Check out AU's virtual tour and hear more about the hidden treasures that other students and faculty prosper from. 




We have many great resources available here, at American University, to help you achieve your best! An excellent example is the Office of Campus Life, which has many departments that offer workshops, strategies, and hands on help. Check out the departments listed below! 
Academic Success & Access Center [Tutoring, Disability Services, and more!]
Career Center [Networking, Resumes, Internship and Job Search, etc.]
Center for Diversity & Inclusion [Workshops, dialogue, mentoring, etc.]
Counseling Center [1 on 1 counseling, group meditation, group counseling]
Wellness Center [Health education resources and programs]

 ...and many more



The Center for Diversity & Inclusion has events and forums specifically for students who are the first-generation in their family to attend college! We are excited to announce that we're planning a professional development program for staff to gain insights on working with first-generation students in early February, and all AU community members are welcome to attend!


First-Generation: Paving the Way

Wednesday, February 5

 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Location TBD

Being first in your family to attend college often presents many rewards and sometimes challenges. This session will offer participants an understanding of this unique population and provide effective tips for working with this growing community.


Registration: Email


Don't let this be you!


Add/Drop Deadline - January 27

This is the last day for you to change your schedule without losing

 any money or getting a "W" on your transcript. If you are thinking about making a change to your schedule, contact your Academic Advisor as soon as possible!

Academic Calendar


Founder's Day - February 22

Founder's Day is a great American University tradition, where we celebrate the founding of our University in 1893 and the rich history of AU. Here's an article on last year's Founder's Day Ball.


Spring Break - March 9 through March 16

No classes during this week, but University offices and residence halls are still open.


Taxes Due! - April 15

Are your parents claiming you as a dependent on their taxes this year? Make sure to get all of these important questions answered ahead of time, so you can have all of your paperwork filed in a timely manner. Find out the basics here!


FAFSA Deadline - May 1

Fill out the Federal Application for by May 1 to be eligible for financial aid. Check out the Financial Aid office for information on aid deadlines and the FAFSA website for more specific information and to fill out the form.



Call for Testimonials!

Do you want to tell your story as a First-Generation college student? Contact Caroline DeLeon [] for more details!


What is the First-Generation Focus? 

The First-Generation Focus is a monthly newsletter produced by the Center for Diversity & Inclusion. The mission of the newsletter is to foster a community among AU's growing first-generation population. Each month the newsletter aims to inform readers about beneficial opportunities on campus. 


Stay connected with the CDI on Facebook and Twitter!
Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
Check out our Facebook groups: Multicultural Community, LGBTQA Community, First Generation Community, Community for Women & Gender Equity  
And our Twitter handles: @AUlgbtqa_cdi, @AUmulti_cdi, @AUCDI

Center for Diversity & Inclusion
American University
Mary Graydon Center, 201
Washington, DC 20016  
Tel: (202) 885-3651| Fax: (202) 885-1168|