First-Generation Students

We are exceptionally proud of those students who are first in their families to earn a four-year degree. In 2017, 42.3 percent of our students were first-generation college students. We offer a host of resources for those seeking additional support in achieving this significant milestone.

Top 10 Tips

When you’re the first in your family to go to college, the experience can seem overwhelming at first. We are here to help. Illinois College is known as a place of welcome and support, where we do our best to ensure every student succeeds. Here are some tips for success:

  1. Commit to your work
  2. Connect early with academic support services
  3. Surround yourself with highly motivated people
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  5. Talk regularly with your professors
  6. Find a mentor
  7. Take care of yourself
  8. Don’t take on too much
  9. Be proactive with your financial aid
  10. Study something you love


TRIO Student Support Services (SSS)

TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) is an exclusive college retention and degree completion program centered on academic, personal, social and career support.

TRIO SSS program staff members work closely with participants as an educational partner to develop a strengths-based, future-focused individual plan of action which addresses the unique goals and needs of each student in the program.

Program services include:

  • Academic success coaching
  • Advice in course selections
  • Financial and economic literacy
  • Assistance with graduate school applications
  • Academic skill development
  • Tutoring
  • Mentoring
  • Career planning
  • Social and cultural events

Eligible students must be U.S. citizens or meet residency requirements, be accepted or enrolled at Illinois College, demonstrate academic need and meet one of the following criteria: first-generation college student (neither parent has a baccalaureate degree), income eligibility guidelines and/or have a documented disability.

The TRIO SSS program serves 140 participants each year. Students are encouraged to apply early in the academic year.

Academic Support Services

Center for Academic Excellence

The Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) provides FREE academic coaching, tutoring and supplemental instruction. Offered in nearly every subject, the program is organized around academic, personal, social and career support.

Campus Writing Center

The Campus Writing Center serves the entire academic community as a resource for all academic writing at Illinois College. The CWC is staffed by student and faculty consultants more than 40 hours per week. The CWC can offer support and guidance as you practice and refine written communication for different purposes, audiences and contexts.

Our staff can provide feedback and help in effective expository and creative writing in every discipline.

Speech Writing Center

The Speech Communication Center (SCC) is open to the entire IC community. You can receive practical advice and suggestions (including verbal, written and video feedback) for improving your speech presentations. SCC advisors are trained to help you improve your presentation skills and reduce anxiety about public speaking.

Schewe Library

The Schewe Library offers online and on-campus resources for all Illinois College students. Get access to books, journals, databases and other resources crucial to academic success.

Additional Resources

‘First in the Family: Advice About College From First-Generation Students’

Published by the nonprofit Next Generation Press, this book is compiled from the experiences of a diverse group of students from across the country. These individuals discuss what helped them make the difficult transition to college and stay on track to graduate.

I’m First

I’m First! was created by the nonprofit Center for Student Opportunity in 2013 to provide students who lack a family history of higher education with inspiration, information and support on the road to—and through—college. I’m First is now an initiative of Strive for College, a national nonprofit that offers a national online mentoring program for college-bound students.