West Chester University’s 16th President is a First-Generation College Graduate: Dr. Laurie Bernotsky is Committed to Making Public Higher Education the Great Equalizer for Students
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Forging a new path…CHARGE!

About 30% of West Chester University students are first generation students. While being the first to do anything can be a bit daunting, going off to college is also a major milestone.  

You’re not alone! West Chester’s First is here to help you connect and thrive at WCU – from application to graduation.


celebrate and support WCU's first-generation college students by providing access to resources, opportunities to connect, and spaces to build a sense of community.  

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Am I a “first-generation” college student?

The formal definition of a first-generation college student is a student whose parent(s) or guardian(s) did not complete a four-year college degree.

At WCU, if one of these statements applies to you, you’re a first-generation student!

  • You’re the first person in your family to attend college
  • None of your parent(s) or guardian(s) attended college
  • None of your parent(s) or guardian(s) completed a college degree
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Nov 8 is national first gen college celebration day 

Why West Chester’s First?

Not only is there a large population of first-gen students on campus, there is a large population of faculty, staff, and administrators who forged the college-path for their family. 

In two simple words: We understand.  College and the college process can be stressful at times.  West Chester’s First is here to:

  • gain a sense of belonging and establish your identity on our campus
  • improve your skills to become a successful student
  • help increase awareness surrounding you and your family’s needs as first-generation student




West Chester’s First is here to help you connect and thrive at WCU – from application to graduation. 

We're here for you!



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West Chester's First would like to recognize and thank the Justamere Foundation for the their generous 2022-23 grant. 

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