The First Generation: Being a First-Time College Student at Ohio State ATI

For recent high school graduates, going off to college can be the most exciting but also stressful time of their life. For a good portion of our students who are first generation, this leaves both the student and family wondering about what their college path entails. First generation students and their families often find themselves having to learn everything about school that their peers already know. Many families aren’t aware of the stress or process of living on campus, scheduling classes, nor the resources available to our students. Fortunately for students at Ohio State ATI, we offer a number of resources to everyone, with exceptional programs designed specifically for those who are first generation. Small class sizes, specialized tutoring, and and entire department dedicated to Student Success Services ensure students get a leg up should they need it.

Skyelar Rock, who spent 3 years studying at Ohio State ATI, shares her experience as a first-time college student.

“Growing up an only child of two parents who did not attend a four year university left a lot of questions in my mind when it came time for college. My dad was a tradesman, my mom went straight into the workforce as well, and I had no siblings to experience the college process before me. When I applied and got accepted to Ohio State ATI, I thought the hardest part was over. Learning how to do college ‘right’ was a tough process, from starting completely online to then figuring out housing and in-person classes when the time came. Thankfully, once I got to campus, Program Excel and the career counselors helped me find my way through it. Denise Rotavera-Krain, one of the career success counselors, worked closely with me to develop a detailed resume and helped me decide what I wanted to do with my career following graduation. I also worked with our campus transition counselor, Cate Hunko, to ensure my path to the Columbus campus was smooth and stress-free.”

Seth Richardson, a second year student studying Agriscience Education, shares his thoughts on Program Excel, which is designed to help first time college students that are also first generation.

“I found out about Program Excel when Kelly Carmack, one of our Program Excel coordinators, emailed me to set up monthly meetings with the program. She made sure that I was getting the resources I needed, and if I needed specific help with classes, I would work with one of the adult mentors in that area. When I started falling behind in my Introduction to Animal Science class, I began working with Leslie Eisberg; Leslie helped me get back on track and keep my grades up for the rest of the semester. I also worked with Denny on a few occasions, who has been extremely helpful in making sure that I am successful. He went so far as to send me review and study materials over the summer, in preparation for my fall math classes.”

Hana Wagner, a third year transfer student studying Animal Sciences, has found a complete a completely different experience here than at her first university. “At my first college, they didn’t offer any specialized programs for first-time college students. I had many advising difficulties, especially since my advisor covered not only my program, but all students in four other departments. With Ohio State ATI, I found out about Program Excel within the first few months after getting accepted, before school even started. I began working with Leslie on the Animal Science side, and she recommended in the future that for the rest of my classes that I work with Denny. We still had follow up meetings, that way she could still check in and ensure I was making progress academically. Leslie also helped outside of coursework with scheduling classes, as a second set of eyes to make sure my degree audit was coming along. We also worked around with time management, making sure I had the right tools to organize classes, home life, and work life. Since I was a commuter student, I found that they were very flexible around my schedule, going so far as to zoom in with me outside office hours to ensure I was getting the help I needed. ” Ohio State ATI knows first generation like no other. Our staff and faculty understand


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