First Generation Students
The Hiatt Career Center recognizes that first-generation students bring a breadth of experience, knowledge, and skills including initiative, persistence, focus, motivation, self-awareness, resilience, responsibility, independence, resourcefulness, risk-taking, and problem-solving. We are here to support your successful college experience.
As the first member of your family to attend college, your experience at Brandeis may include challenges that are different than other students.
While at Brandeis, we encourage you to:
- Build connections. You have a unique story; share it with others who can serve as career mentors or cheerleaders. Developing connections will help you learn about different careers, give you insights into the internship and job search, and develop your network. Faculty, advisors, supervisors, alumni, and peers can all be great resources people to connect with.
- Ask questions. Every student need to learn how things are done at a new school. We encourage you to ask questions of other students, faculty and staff members.
- Gain experience. A college degree is only part of what you’ll need for career success. Join clubs, volunteer, or get an on-campus job. In addition, Hiatt can work with you to explore opportunities and learn about different types of work and environments.
- Acknowledge your strengths and accomplishments. You’ve already been successful navigating the college application process! Have confidence knowing that these skills will help you move forward in your academics and career.
- I'm First: an online community providing first generation college students with the inspiration, information, and support on the road to and through college.
- First Gen Nonprofits: links to nonprofits dedicated to helping first generation students.
- FirstGen Fellows: a 10-week summer program in the D.C. area for undergraduate students who are passionate about pursuing careers in social justice.
- First In The Family: provides educational information from first generation college students, for first generation college students.
- CollegeBoard: What It’s All About and Why it Matters
- US News & World Report: Tips For First Generation Students
- Chronicle of Higher Education: First-Generation Students Need Help in Straddling Their 2 Cultures
Answers to Common Questions
Internships are a common way that students get experience outside of the classroom. While many internships are paid, it is not uncommon to find unpaid internships. Brandeis has multiple funding sources that might help if you choose to take on an unpaid opportunity in the summer.
Your major is the subject area which you will study in depth in order to develop expertise and critical thinking skills. You have to complete one major to graduate, and while some students might double major (pick more than one) it’s not necessary.
Some students come to school knowing what they are interested in studying and some students are still exploring. There is no one way to go about picking a major. Start by reviewing the list of majors offered at Brandeis, and then come speak with staff at Hiatt or Academic Services
The professional world is an ever-evolving landscape. Choosing a “career” is not about finding one job or making one decision. It is about developing skills and strategies to successfully pursue career opportunities, acknowledging changing interests, unexpected events and new options.
When exploring careers it's important to develop plans while staying open to new opportunities. You can get started by learning about what you’re interested in and how that might translate into careers.
A liberal arts education provides its graduates with the academic and leadership skills to make them valuable employees in the workplace, particularly long-term as managers and leaders. The core skills of the liberal arts education such as critical thinking, problem solving, writing, oral communication, and cross-disciplinary analysis make liberal arts graduates adaptable and creative in the ever-changing workplace.
Liberal arts degrees help teach students a broad range of skills that they can apply in many fields and jobs.
Job, internship, fellowship and graduate school applications all ask you to describe your "experience." What they seek is evidence that you have the skill sets to be successful within their organizations, for example, lead people, manage projects, learn new things quickly, conduct research, help customers and partners, work on a team, write well, assume responsibility. Experience comes from everything you do - it does not have to be related to your major or future career, nor does it have to be salaried. Build your resume in many ways
MEET WITH US
Hiatt is here to help you navigate the process of exploring career options and making decisions about where to begin. Schedule a meeting with us to talk about questions including:
- How do my interests and skills align with different career options?
- What is networking and how do I get started?
- How can I connect with alumni in my interest area?
- What is the process for applying to graduate or law school?
- What have Brandeis graduates done immediately after graduation?
- How do I go about finding internships and jobs?
- Or just to check in.