Inaugural event targets first-in-family students

120 future students and families welcomed. 

The growing number of first-in-family students attending university is important to the University of Wollongong because of its commitment to the transformative power of education and the diversity these students bring to the institution.

Recognising this, UOW recently conducted an inaugural event for prospective students who are first in their family to go to university.

Latest statistics reveal that first-in-family students now represent more than 29 per cent of the overall annual student intake at UOW.

The ‘First Gen’ event was held as part of a program of activities for future students across the Wollongong and regional campuses.

UOW Pro Vice-Chancellor Students, Professor Julia Coyle, said more than 120 new UOW students and their families attended the inaugural ‘First Gen’ Celebration Event.

Professor Coyle said the celebration sought to welcome and congratulate students who are the first in their immediate family to attend higher education, through providing valuable information, resources and tips to enable a successful transition to university life for students and their families.

“These students are trailblazers,” Professor Coyle said.

For this reason, she highlighted the important role that families as a whole play in a student deciding to take on university studies.

She said an initial first step was to engage more directly with the families of these students. This would involve having the families come on to campus and also actively encouraging students to include their family members in their fields of study.

The ‘First Gen’ event involved a panel of guest speakers including academics, current students, professional staff and alumni representatives. They spoke about their experiences as first generation students, with many questions from attendees addressed and higher education concepts demystified.

Professor Coyle said most importantly attendees were given the opportunity to socialise and meet other students and their families who are about to start at UOW, and begin developing a sense of belonging and building relationships among their peers.

The students were also encouraged to attend the new Transition and Success workshops being run on campus throughout the ‘Get Started’ day, which saw more than 600 new UOW students receive important academic and induction information ahead of their first session.

This included unpacking fundamental UOW tips, optimising subject outlines, and future planning their degrees.

For more information about the transition content delivered, or the first generation celebration, contact the Student Equity & Transition Unit at

Orientation Week for Autumn Session 2019 will be held from 26-28 February on the UOW campus.

First-Gen-event-collage_1200x800Prospective students and their families enjoy the 'First Gen' event on the Duckpond Lawn at UOW's Wollongong Campus.



Posted in Education
Tagged: Student life