AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - 47 percent of WT's student population are first generation college students, but one new program is looking to be an outlet for students who may feel a little overwhelmed.
"Their the future of not only this university but the whole world. So, being a first generation student is not necessary a bad thing." said WT Senior Jonathan Cordova. "It means that you are trying to achieve a goal and you are creating a path for future generations in your family."
This semester, 893 students who identified as first generation college students last year no longer attend the university.
"We need to find a way to keep those students at WT to keep them, to help them be successful as they make there way through college," said Director of Experimental Learning George Pacheco Jr. "Instead of letting them matriculate out for whatever reason. We don't know why they left but we know that of the students who left, almost 900 of them identified as first gen."
The goal of the First Gen program is to become a support system for students who need help adjusting to their new life on campus.
"Having someone to lean on and go to. As first generation college students, I myself was one," said Pacheco Jr. "We don't recognize what's happening around campus, we don't notice the opportunities for tutoring, we don't notice the opportunities for career centers, counseling centers, study abroad.
If you're a first generation college student, you don't have parents at home who went through the experience before that can say you can find these things if you know where to look."
First Gen will allow upperclassmen to guide their peers through some of the same obstacles they once faced.
"When I was a freshman, I was struggling with financial aid, scholarships, school work and things on campus. Now I can help those freshmen and those people that are first generation students," said Cordova. "It's amazing because I didn't have that opportunity, so the feeling of helping others that are the same as me, it's an amazing feeling."
The program will be open to all WT students interested in joining, first generation or not, either looking for help or to help someone else.