Graduate Students

Find Your First-Gen Community

How many Southern graduate students identify as first-generation college students? More than you think!

In fact, first gen or not, many of your peers enter graduate school feeling the same uncertainties as you. You are not alone.

As You Apply

There is plenty of information to get you going on the School of Graduate and Professional Studies website. But if you are someone who prefers to get your information from another human, we encourage you to schedule a virtual information session with one of our Graduate Admissions staff members. Email with the days and times that work best, and someone will reach back out to you!

How to Pay for Grad School

Many of our graduate students take on significant financial burdens when they decide to attend graduate school. That’s why at Southern, paying for your graduate courses isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Learn about options ranging from tuition payment plans to scholarships, financial aid, and competitive fellowships here.

Get to Know Us

There’s no better way to discover that you belong at Southern than to attend one of our graduate events. See what’s coming up, here.
Make your voice heard! Consider attending Graduate Student Affairs Committee meetings. GSAC is dedicated to enhancing the experience of graduate students and acts as an advocacy group to better serve the needs of the graduate student body as a whole. Help your fellow first-gen students build their voice on campus! Learn more here.

Build Relationships and Strategize Your Career Path

Developing and executing a career strategy can feel overwhelming. But, it’s important to know it isn’t a journey you need to figure out alone.

The key is to start making connections and seeking advice early. You do not need to know exactly what kind of work you want to do before approaching advisers, mentors, and other experts to discuss your options.

Connecting with your professors outside of lecture hours is the easiest way to start building relationships within your field. At Southern in particular, our professors are experienced in academia and often work within the larger community. Reach out early and often to make sure you’re heading in the right direction career-wise, and to make sure you’re aware of any departmental opportunities for growth and support.

You should also connect with the Career and Professional Services office as early as your first year of graduate school. Advisers can help you connect with alumni who work in your area of interest, prepare you for interviews, identify employment opportunities, and more.

Get the Writing and Research Support You Need

If there is one final piece of advice we can give you as a first-gen graduate student it’s this – don’t wait until your first assignment is due to get help!

As soon as you can, make an appointment with your field-assigned research librarian. Learning to navigate Southern’s library and online databases early will empower you to get started on your assignments quickly and leave room to seek writing support as you need it.

Writing is one of the most important aspects of graduate school, and the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services offers graduate-level peer tutors who excel in writing to provide support with master's program material.

Schedule a one-on-one session or learn more about graduate-level writing resources from our Writing Center.