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Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

Understanding the Needs of Aspiring First Generation College Students

Online Program


As college counseling and financial assistance become more readily available, future first generation college students are leaving their high school campuses and becoming the first in their families to attend college in greater numbers than ever before. This course explores the social, emotional and cultural barriers aspiring first generation college students will face and must overcome in order to achieve success in their transition from high school to college. College counselors will learn practical ways to assist these students in furthering their education and achieving their goals.

Dates: Winter 2018 (Dates to be determined.)

Early registration - $300
Standard registration - $325
Late registration - $350

Payments are accepted by credit card or purchase order. Registrations via credit card are confirmed immediately upon processing. Registrations made via PO are not considered confirmed until CCR receives the actual payment (check). If registering using a PO, payment (check) is due within 30 days of registration. Failure to submit timely payment may result in the cancellation of your registration.

Format: Online (asynchronous modules)
Credits: 10 CPE, 1.0 CEU, no graduate credit offered
Who should register: Current college counseling professionals, advisors and advocates, parents and school administrators. No previous counseling experience is required for this program.*

Note: We are now using an online registration system.

*This course is recommended for college counselors with less than 3 years of experience.

Content Expert: Sonya Ramirez is responsible for the design and implementation of innovative educator professional development and student enrichment programs, including college and career counseling workshops and a multitude of college and career readiness student enrichment programming. She has also been responsible for the direction and coordination of the center's college readiness programming and manages the implementation of our College Readiness Initiative grant in collaboration with the AVID Center and 13 local school districts. As a former first generation college student, she has achieved a B.A. in communications from Texas A&M University and has an M.A. in communications from the University of Houston. Currently she directs Generation College, a student organization for first generation college students on the Rice University campus.

Course Facilitator: Dr. Jennifer Gigliotti is responsible for the design of innovative professional development models for teachers, including Advanced Placement workshops, online professional development, college and career counseling workshops, and customized district trainings. She is the co-author on a college readiness grant collaboration with the AVID organization and 13 Houston-area school districts, sponsored by the Houston Endowment. Jennifer has extensive experience writing curriculum and previously taught secondary social studies in Fort Bend Independent School District. She holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston as well as an M.Ed. in secondary social studies education and a B.A. from The Ohio State University.

Module Topics:

Who are First Generation College Students? This module will provide an overview of first generation college students as defined by the students themselves. The self-defined approach allows a greater number of students with varying and unique situations obtain the resources needed for their success. Topics will include statistical insights into this ever-growing population along with the general trends and demographics of first gens and future first generation college students.

Parents, Stories, Culture This module will discuss the impact parents have in shaping their students’ views of themselves and their futures and the power of culture in influencing the autobiographical stories students carry with them. Participants will learn the critical importance of seeking to merge these components of the student’s identity with a college-going identity in a way that does not disregard the student’s sense of self.

The Struggles of First Generation College Students This module will explore the most prevalent challenges facing first generation college students as they transition from high school to college. Participants will learn how to better prepare their students for success in college by addressing issues related to college knowledge, college culture and financing college.

Resources and Strategies for Working with Future First Generation College Students In this module, participants will utilize free, relevant and practical resources for helping their future first generation college students take advantage of every opportunity available to them. Online and in-class activities will be discussed as well as why it is worth the effort to ensure every student has the chance to achieve their college dreams.


“Understanding the Needs of Aspiring First Generation College Students” online course is intended to educate participants about the basics of the college admissions/advising process. This course will not increase the likelihood of admission to Rice University and is in no way affiliated with the Office of Admissions.

System Requirements: This course utilizes the Canvas platform and includes the use of high-quality videos and synchronous sessions in Blackboard Collaborate. For maximum performance, we recommend these system requirements for the Canvas platform. Additionally, the synchronous sessions in Blackboard Collaborate require a headset with a microphone.

If your operating system does not meet the system requirements set forth, we cannot guarantee a quality learning experience. Please verify that your computer meets the minimum requirements prior to registering for the course.