Families of First Generation Students

Congratulations! We Are Glad You Are Here!

We are excited that your family has joined the Vanderbilt community. It is our hope that our office can connect you to the necessary resources and support services and answer any questions you may have about Vanderbilt.

At Vanderbilt University, first-generation college students - those from families in which neither parent has earned a four-year undergraduate degree - are called "Vandy Firsts." First-generation students are an integral part of our University community, contributing to the great diversity and the cultural and intellectual life of our high-achieving undergraduate student population. Vanderbilt University celebrates the abilities, strength, and resilience of our first-generation students and their family members, and we look forward to seeing you on campus.

Vanderbilt Parent and Family Programs is here to support your family every step of the way. Reach out to us anytime: parents@vanderbilt.edu.

Commodore Connection Newsletters

The Commodore Connection is the primary vehicle of communications with our parent community. As a monthly e-newsletter, we strive to engage and inform parents of key campus resources and updates. With additional consideration of highlighting strategic university priorities such as the residential experience, Opportunity Vanderbilt, Experience Vanderbilt, Student Care Network, and other university initiatives.

Network First-Gen

The Network First-Gen Initiative realizes that holding the identity of a first-generation student is complex. First-generation students are academically skilled and contribute greatly to the campus community; it is the lack of critical cultural capital necessary to navigate the “hidden curriculum” of universities and colleges successfully that impact first-generation students adversely. Students with one (or more) guardian that have completed a 4-year institution often have greater sources of support in understanding how to traverse the policies, procedures, jargon, and expectations of collegiate life. 

More to Explore

  • College Terminology

    We understand that this process can be overwhelming at times, and we want to make sure you are as informed as possible. Please view our guide of common words and phrases that you may come across during your student's time at Vanderbilt University.


  • Orientation

    Orientation offers activities and programs for new students to introduce them to the living-learning communities of their houses and The Ingram Commons, the faculties and academic classes of their schools, the norms and values of the Vanderbilt community, upper-division students and their organizations, and Nashville. Additionally, there will be Parent and Family Orientation sessions for parents to learn about the intricacies of Vanderbilt University.


  • Connect on Social Media

    Join our Vanderbilt Parents & Families Facebook Group

  • FirstVU

    FirstVU is a student-run organization to support, celebrate and empower first-generation students at Vanderbilt University. FirstVU is led by Peer Advocates who are also first-generation students and serve on the executive board of the FirstVU student organization. The Mission of FirstVU is to provide support and foster a strong community where first-generation students feel empowered and supported as part of the Vanderbilt community. FirstVU advocates will guide students to campus resources in the following areas:

    • Admissions
    • Student Life
    • Academics
    • Faculty and Instructors
    • Career Guidance


  • FGLI at Vanderbilt

    First-Generation Low-Income students often experience college as a different world than what they are familiar with, one that they are not culturally, socially, or financially prepared for. Intentional inclusivity, mindful programming, and financial support can help first-generation low-income students feel less like visitors at our University, and instead, feel like they belong and deserve to have the tools and confidence they need to truly get the most out of their Vanderbilt journey.


Campus Contacts

Still need help finding what you're looking for? We'll be happy to point you in the right direction! Feel free to send us an email at parents@vanderbilt.edu.