• Baylor First in Line helps first-generation students transition to college life

    First in Line participants

    Every so often, we get to feature a Baylor family that has been sporting green and gold for generations — like this dad who has sung “That Good Old Baylor Line” to his daughter since she was in the womb, this family that owns “BAYLOR” license plates in three different states, and this family with a century-old tradition of attending Baylor.

    But imagine nearing your college years and not only knowing nothing about Baylor, but nothing about how to apply to colleges, why the SAT matters, when to schedule tours and interviews, what in the world FAFSA is, or how college really even works. Those are the sorts of hurdles faced by the 1 out of every 8 Baylor students who are first-generation college students — those whose parents didn’t get a four-year degree. But that’s exactly where Baylor’s First in Line program comes in.

    Leading up to Move-In Day, First in Line hosts the First in Line Success Academy (FILSA), a week of lunches, dinners and “FILSA Family Time” events such as a ropes course, the Great Amazing Baylor Race, and Waco exploration. Staff members and student volunteers even guide the incoming first-generation students through academic success workshops and lessons like how to find your classes on a 1,000-acre campus. Best of all, this week is completely free for first-generation students. (If you’re a first-gen student headed to Baylor, take note: the deadline to apply to FILSA is March 29!)

    This support continues throughout the students’ first semester at Baylor, as Success Academy faculty and peer leaders check in with students monthly and talk their parents through their hopes and fears for their child’s college journey. Though the focus is on supporting students through that rocky transition from high school to college, some students continue attending First in Line events throughout their college careers to stay connected with fellow first-gens.

    “The most helpful part of First in Line was learning whom to ask when I needed help, as well as getting to know that I wasn’t alone and that someone was there for me no matter what I needed,” one student told Baylor Arts & Sciences magazine. “I love what First in Line stands for and how much everyone cares. I would absolutely recommend it as a great way to get involved and get connected with other students that you have something in common with. Choosing to be a part of First in Line is one of the best decisions that I’ve made so far in my life.”

    Sic ’em, first-generation students!

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