MSU uses grant to help first-generation students

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State School leaders are working to better serve their first-generation students.

Being the first person in your family to attend college is exciting, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Which is why Missouri State is expanding its programming to help these students.

Attending college was always on Missouri State junior, Terrell Dawson Jr’s, list of things to accomplish.

“Ever since I was young my parents kind of preached to me that I was going to college just because my father didn’t have the chance to,” Dawson Jr. said.

But for first-gen students like Dawson, making the transition from high school to college can be scary.

“This is a big school so it’s kind of overwhelming,” Dawson Jr. said.

However, thanks to a new grant, MSU is improving resources geared towards this population of students.

“Some students don’t know what they don’t know,” Dr. Kelly Woods with Missouri State University said. “When you provide that support early on then that develops the skills in them to be able to finish those years in college because they developed the skills to ask for help, to reach out to faculty members when they need that assistance.”

As well as the importance of joining a club or extracurricular activity.

“I got into the TRIO program which really helped me a lot it got me a tutor, they make you go to social events so then you’re able to meet new people,” Dawson Jr. said.

Missouri State sophomore, Hailie Edwards, says it can be hard to know what to expect when you’re a first-gen student.

“I couldn’t really ask anyone in my family what it was going to be like so it was definitely a huge learning experience and something I was definitely scared for,” Edwards said.

The university is developing videos for incoming first-gen freshmen that will focus on things like understanding college costs and preparing for your second year.

To further assist these students, staff will send reminders about upcoming deadlines snd financial aid counselors will be available for text, email or in-person questions.

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