First-Generation Mentorship

Support and advising for students who are the first generation in their families to attend university

A groupof five students works together around a computer.

Building a First-Generation Community

Post-secondary studies are an exciting and extraordinary milestone. For students who don't have parents or family members who have previously attended university, having guidance from someone who has been there before can be especially helpful.

First-Generation mentorship provides students access to a community of peers, as well as contextualized academic advising, resources, and events. These supports can not only aid in their transition to university life, but also help them succeed throughout their post-secondary journey.


Mentorship Matters

I didn't realize how much of an impact this program would make in my life. I enjoyed every part of this mentorship program. ... I would absolutely recommend this program to other people. Not only do you make good connections, but also you learn about what it takes to be a mentor and mentee. I learned a relationship has to come from both sides.

Jenny Park

Engineering Mentee

About the Mentorship Program

The First-Generation mentorship program offers opportunities to connect and build community with other first generation students. Volunteer mentors help create a positive and enriching environment for new students, while mentees gain confidence and knowledge from their mentors shared experiences. 

About Mentors

Volunteer mentors provide guidance as upper-year students insight into campus life.

As a mentor, you'll receive leadership training and work experience while making enriching connections along the way.

You can learn more about the mentorship role by reading the role description or by watching the Mentor Overview Video

Complete the Mentor Application

About Mentees

Adjusting to a new environment can be overwhelming! While first-generation students are resilient and determined, pioneering their path without personal guidance can be challenging. We welcome applicants from all faculties.

You can learn more about the mentee role by reading the role description or watching the Mentee Overview Video.

Request a Mentor

Students who identify as the first in their family to attend post secondary can request a mentor by completing a brief intake survey and a short meeting with the program coordinator. 

Complete the Mentee Application

Mentors support and navigate

I decided to participate in the mentorship program because I wanted a guiding hand to navigate my first year. One memorable interaction was when my mentors patiently listened to my concerns and provided practical advice, instantly easing my worries. To anyone considering becoming a mentee or mentor, I'd say go for it - it was one of the best decisions I made. Having someone supportive to talk to and help navigate this new environment made all the difference.

Imandi Attanayake, Law and Society Mentee

News and articles

UCalgary celebrates inaugural First-Generation Networking Night

Students in First-in-Family Program find community and connection with peers, campus community and hear from 1st-generation groundbreakers

The Power of Determination

Four steps to help make your goals a reality.

Academic Triumphs and Challenges

Tales of First-in-Family Students in Canada

Food Insecurity and Campus Resources

A Guide for UCalgary Students

Managing Setbacks: A Stepping Stone to Success

While setbacks can be a source of stress, they can also be an opportunity to learn, grow, and get better.

Putting the "Self" in Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy is the act of intentionally speaking up for your wants, needs, and rights. This includes pursuing necessary support and asking for what you need in your journey.

Mentors build connection

I decided to participate in the program as I wanted to find a meaningful way to get involved on campus. The First-in-Family program exceeded my expectations at the amount of effort, love and care that goes into fostering a sense of community. I have found such a strong sense of belonging upon mentoring for this program, and have found so much fulfillment in my mentor-mentee relationship. I am grateful for everything this program has taught me about leadership and confidence, and I will carry it with me in all my future pursuits!

Anonymous Mentor, Health Sciences


Do you have questions about our First-Generation programming? Contact us for more support. 

Tram Nguyen

Academic Development Specialist, 

Equity-deserving Students

Mariann Howell

Coordinator, First-Generation Student Programs

First-Generation Programs

Academic support, exploratory advising, wellbeing resources, and more!

Learn more about First-Generation Student Programs