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Empowering First Generation Scholars

Ensuring an unsurpassed student experience is paramount to our Syracuse University community—especially when it comes to students who are the first in their family or support system to go to college.

With 19%* of the undergraduate student body identifying as first generation, we are committed to helping you pursue your dreams and reach your goals through resources and opportunities that demonstrate our ongoing commitment to access and inclusion.

Irene and Morris B. Kessler Presidential Scholars Program

Students selected for the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program not only receive four years of substantial scholarship aid, but also have access to holistic services that enhance their experience and success on campus. In addition to warm and welcoming programs and events hosted to build community among the Kessler Scholars, each student is connected to a peer mentor, participates in career-enrichment activities, engages in community projects and receives support to study abroad.

There is no separate application for the Kessler Presidential Scholarship. When you apply to Syracuse University, you are automatically considered for the Kessler Presidential Scholarship if neither of your parents graduated from college (as indicated on your Common Application).

’Cuse First Pre-Welcome Program

For new students, this two-day program held directly before new student orientation (Syracuse Welcome) helps first-generation students connect and prepare for their academic career. Sessions cover study tips, how to navigate the University, managing finances and more.

Many2Come Student Organization

This student organization provides a free space for you to express concerns and gain advice from other students, panels, guest speakers and more. The mission of Many2Come is to make Syracuse University a place of opportunity for everyone, no matter their starting point or privileges.

Additional Support Programs and Resources

Below are programs and offices that traditionally support a large number of first-generation students. Some students engage with multiple programs and offices.

This award-winning academic excellence and leadership program provides academic, social and cultural enrichment activities for first-year students of color. WellsLink scholars are trained for success and leadership here at Syracuse University and beyond.

Learn about the program

Syracuse University is just minutes from the heartland of Haudenosaunee territory and is invested in a relationship with our Indigenous neighbors that promotes cross-cultural dialogue, research opportunities and stronger appreciation for Native American leadership and contribution. The Native Student Program is designed to support students during their transition to Syracuse and throughout their entire undergraduate experience.

Explore Native American student resources

OrangeSeeds acquaints passionate first-year students with the campus and its leaders, and challenges new students to become actively involved during their first semester on campus. Through a number of learning and community service opportunities, Seeds engage with the Syracuse campus and greater city in need.

Learn more about OrangeSeeds

*Of the undergraduate students matriculated at Syracuse University in Fall 2020, 19% (2,717) are first-generation students.