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..."
  • Brian Rowe
Director of Experiential Education
AU Career Center


  • Why AU? 
  • Great place to work, extremely collaborative environment, a global perspective permeates the University, across schools and departments.  
  • What does being first-generation mean to you?
  • Being a trailblazer!  Taking the next step, moving into unexplored territory.  Improving ones opportunities moving forward in life  
  • Was there anything you were confused by during college? 

  • I underestimated the impact of networking at first.  Developing connections, friends, mentors, and connecting with affinity groups that support and challenge me... I didnt realize the importance of that for a while...but now I do!  

  • What are you most looking forward to this semester?
  • I started at AU in Sept. 2013.  I'm excited about working with students and colleagues across schools and depts to maximize experiential learning opportunities for students.  

What is your spirit animal?

Duck!  Ducks are found all over the world, from cold places to hot places, they can walk, they can swim, they can fly.  They can go anywhere!  




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What is the 

First-Generation Focus? 


The First-Generation Focus is a monthly newsletter produced by the American University 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. 



Call for Testimonials!

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








"Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." 
- Katharine Whitehorn



March 5, 2014 

Schedule an Appointment with the Career Center!

Do it. Right now. But seriously, it's an easy process, and the advisers at the Career Center truly know their stuff. They can provide you with the following services:

  • Resume and cover letter review;
  • Job and internship search strategies;
  • Online toolkit of practical resources;
  • Mock interviews;
  • On-campus networking and recruiting events;
  • Career exploration;
  • Graduate school advice;
  • ...and more!

Don't know what to ask Career Center staff? Check out this list, which has some great starting points!

Click here to schedule your appointment!


Getting Started: 
Tricks & Tips for a Great Resume

Constructing your perfect resume is more of an art than a science. That being said, there are some standard conventions that you will want to keep in mind to help your resume land toward the top of the application pile. The Daily Muse is a great resource to get advice from, on all things resume and cover letters. Check out some of their 43 Killer Resume Tips below!
  • Keep it simple and keep it consistent.
  • Use a basic, but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic, with a font size between 10 and 12.
  • Use as many facts, figures, and numbers as you can in your bullet points. Quantify your accomplishments. 
  • Remember to start out each bullet point with an action verb! Try to have no repeats under the same heading. Here's a resource with 185 verbs for resume success.
  • Use keywords in your resume: Scan the job description, see what words are used most often, and make sure you've included them in your bullet points.
  • Make sure that your resume is free and clear of typos, and don't rely on spell check and grammar check alone. Reach out to others to see what they may catch! 
  • Think long and hard before using a two-page resume. Can you can tell the same story in less space? Do.
Check out the Career Center's FAQ section for more great advice! And, just as importantly, don't forget about building a quality, customized cover letter for each job you apply for!

But, what should I wear?

Dressing for an interview isn't easy and it's often confusing to determine how casual you can be, particularly if you're applying for a job or internship with a small non-profit or university office.  

A good rule of thumb is to look at what employees wear and dress one level above. So, if your future co-workers are rocking jeans and button down or a blouse, you might be able to go business casual, but if they're already wearing business casual, opt for the suit. Keep in mind, that it's better to be overdressed during your interview than on the casual side. Be comfortable and confident in what you're wearing and remember to put on a smile before you step into your interview!




What is business casual? What is business formal? Casual? Here are some great resources to help you out with this age old question:

AU Career Center Style Guide

What is business casual? (Forbes)

Etiquette Rules for Dress in a Business Environment (Chron)



Final Steps: Clean up your Social Media

Employers want to be sure that the person they are hiring will be a good representative of their office, even when they clock out. Make sure that your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and any other social media sites are scrubbed of any inappropriate



Run a quick Google search of yourself and see what comes up. And remember, depending on your industry, that while bad things are definitely a deal-breaker, no online presence can be less than desirable too. LinkedIn is a great way to get your name on the top of the Google search results and keep in touch with your classmates and colleagues! 

Back to the Basics: Resumes & Cover Letters

Are you hazy on what a resume or cover letter actually is? Here are some quick run downs to help you get a handle on the building blocks of your job and internship search.


Cover Letter:

A short, one page, letter that introduces you and tells the employer why you are the best person for the position. This letter gives you an opportunity to expand on your roles and offer a potential employer a more nuanced story about your work and education experiences. 




Short, concise document that states relevant information regarding your education, skills, experiences, and accomplishments. It is used as a self-marketing tool to convince a prospective employer to interview and hire you.



Curriculum Vitae (CV):

A longer, comprehensive document that details your education, skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Similar to a resume, and generally used when applying for teaching or research opportunities in an academic setting or generally when searching for employment abroad. 



Writing Samples: 

Writing samples allow an employer or graduate program to judge your ability to convey a written message and should be taken seriously. Employers will often determine the appropriate length, and a writing sample in the style of writing that you will be performing is ideal.

[Tips & Guidelines]


Thank You Notes:

A brief note showing appreciation for someone's time after an interview. In addition, this is used to confirm your interest in the position. Notes can be sent via email or traditional mail.



How do I find open positions?

Finding out what jobs are available is definitely a process and takes a significant amount of time. Make a list of organizations in your field and keep an eye on their job and internship listings. Use your on-campus resources, like professors and mentors, and leverage the connections of people you know. Additionally, check out these websites and organizations for job opportunities.


AU Career Web

Career Center Advisor 

Council on Foreign Affairs

Hill Job Boards [Hill Zoo]


On-Campus Job Listings


Young Professionals groups




Taxes due: April 15

FAFSA due: May 1


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|