By Theo Schwinke
This story was originally published April 7, 2022.
The conference was a collaboration with Columbia Public Schools’ Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutoring program, which supports first generation middle school and high school students both academically and professionally.
The purpose of the conference was to close the opportunity gap that many first-generation students face.
“For a lot of first-generation students, getting into higher education is a huge milestone for them and their families, but sometimes it can be a scary transition when you are not able to ask your parents about things like applying for scholarships or how to make friends on such a big campus,” said MGC Secretary Sophie Kennedy, a junior from Peoria, Illinois.
Students from local schools learned about different aspects of college life, including finances, student organizations, academic and professional development, social life and the fraternity/sorority community.
“We want to give any advice that we can and show them that college is full of opportunities for them,” Kennedy said. “Homework and test grades are very important, but college is also a great time to discover your interests, pursue self-growth, and to broaden your horizons.”
“It is also important to show these students that they are represented on large campuses like Mizzou. Being the child of an immigrant or being the first person in your family to receive higher education can be very isolating, especially when attending college is the norm, but we are here to show them that they are not alone in this process,” Kennedy said.