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49% at WTAMU & 68% at Amarillo College’s student population are first generation college students

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:07 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - As of the 2020 to 2021 academic year, 49 percent of West Texas A&M University’s (WTAMU) student population is first-generation and at Amarillo College, it’s 68 percent.

Both colleges are making an effort to help those who may be struggling.

Today, a group of WTAMU first generation students shared what their organization, F1rstGen is doing on campus to help others in their position.

F1rstGen holds socials, community service projects and events to help get those students involved on campus.

They also show them the resources they have access to in an effort to help them succeed.

“College was a really big learning opportunity for me both personally and professionally. I always knew that I wanted to go, but I wanted to have a better future for myself and hopefully future generations of myself,” said Rachel Widder, first generation college student, senior at WTAMU.

At today’s panel, WTAMU faculty and staff took the opportunity to learn how they can help students who are navigating through college.

“Anyway of contacting me outside of the classroom, shows me that they care a little bit more,” said Widder.

“Some first-generation college students don’t know that they can ask for help, and that makes them not participate and be accumulated to WT and it deteriorates their experience they have in college,” said Jonathan Cordova, program coordinator for the office of study abroad at WTAMU.

Cordova says there is a need for an organization like this on all campuses across the country as a lot of students are first generation and need help adjusting.

Amarillo College is making an effort by communicating with the students on their level.

“We communicate more effectively with our students. Our messages to them are at a level that they understand using words that they already know or explaining the terms that they don’t already understand,” said Cassie Montgomery, director of outreach services at Amarillo College.

“I think the most important thing about all of us going to college is trying to better ourselves, finding our future, getting stable regardless of financial needs and anything of that nature. Pretty much you need to find what you love and love what you’re doing so you don’t work a day in your life and help others do better,” said Jacqulyne McDuff, first generation college student, junior at Amarillo College.

Here you can find resources at Amarillo College or West Texas A&M University if a future or existing first-generation college student.

For more on the student organization, F1rstGen, click here.

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