Counseling Aspiring First Generation College Students

As college counseling and financial assistance become more readily available, future first generation college students are leaving their high school campuses and becoming the first in their families to attend college in greater numbers than ever before. College counselors will learn practical ways to assist these students in furthering their education and achieving their goals.

Students walking outside with a college access counselor.

“I came to the course believing I had solid knowledge of college admissions and the college experience, but I knew almost nothing of the experiences of the first generation student. Almost everything I learned was new to me.” - Past Participant


Module Topics:

Who are First Generation College Students?: This module will provide an overview of first generation college students as defined by the students themselves. The self-defined approach allows a greater number of students with varying and unique situations obtain the resources needed for their success. Topics will include statistical insights into this ever-growing population along with the general trends and demographics of first gens and future first generation college students.

Parents, Stories, Culture: This module will discuss the impact parents have in shaping their students’ views of themselves and their futures and the power of culture in influencing the autobiographical stories students carry with them. Participants will learn the critical importance of seeking to merge these components of the student’s identity with a college-going identity in a way that does not disregard the student’s sense of self.

The Struggles of First Generation College Students: This module will explore the most prevalent challenges facing first generation college students as they transition from high school to college. Participants will learn how to better prepare their students for success in college by addressing issues related to college knowledge, college culture and financing college.

Resources and Strategies for Working with Future First Generation College Students: In this module, participants will utilize free, relevant and practical resources for helping their future first generation college students take advantage of every opportunity available to them. Online and in-class activities will be discussed as well as why it is worth the effort to ensure every student has the chance to achieve their college dreams.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CCR42460 Jennifer Gigliotti, Sonya Ramirez Online Online; asynchronous modules with one optional synchronous session (See tab below) Thursday, February 15, 2018

Instructor: Jennifer Gigliotti

Course Facilitator

Dr. Jennifer Gigliotti is responsible for the design of innovative professional development models for teachers, including Advanced Placement workshops, online professional development, college and career counseling workshops, and customized district trainings. She is the co-author on a college readiness grant collaboration with the AVID organization and 13 Houston-area school districts, sponsored by the Houston Endowment. Jennifer has extensive experience writing curriculum and previously taught secondary social studies in Fort Bend Independent School District. She holds an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Houston as well as an M.Ed. in secondary social studies education and a B.A. from The Ohio State University.

Content Expert

Sonya Ramirez serves as managing director for KIPP Through College: Houston, creating opportunities for college access and success for students. Before joining KIPP, Ms. Ramirez was involved in the design and implementation of educator professional development and student enrichment programs in college readiness at Rice University, as well as serving as an adjunct faculty member at Lone Star College. Her efforts also included directing Generation College, a student organization for first generation college students at Rice. As a former first gen, she has a B.A. from Texas A & M University and has an M.A. from the University of Houston. Ms. Ramirez has formerly worked as a high school teacher in the Houston Independent School District and as a student recruiter at Houston Community College.

Term: Winter 2018

Start Date: Feb. 15, 2018

End Date: March 01, 2018

Schedule: Online; asynchronous modules with one optional synchronous session (See tab below)

Fee: $325

Early Registration: $300 by November 10

Late Registration: $350 after January 22

Continuing Professional Education (CPE): 10

Continuing Education Units (CEU): 1.0

Note: This course is not currently accepting registrations. Please select VIEW CURRENT OFFERINGS to see similar classes offered by the Center for College Readiness.

This course utilizes the Canvas platform and includes the use of high-quality videos. For maximum performance, we recommend these system requirements for the Canvas platform.

If your operating system does not meet the system requirements set forth, we cannot guarantee a quality learning experience. Please verify that your computer meets the minimum requirements prior to registering for the course.

The Counseling Aspiring First Generation College Students online course is intended to educate participants about the basics of the college admissions/advising process. This course will not increase the likelihood of admission to Rice University and is in no way affiliated with the Office of Admissions.


This course is a blended format consisting of asynchronous modules with one optional synchronous live session on Thursday, March 1, 7-8:30 p.m. CST.