Being a first-generation student at Warwick and Warwick Widening Participation
Moving to university as a first-generation student can feel daunting because it is the unknown. Imposter syndrome can, unfortunately, creep in when you pursue higher education even if you have achieved high grades because it is new to you. It is important to remember you deserve this opportunity
In today’s blog post, I want to share my experiences and give some tips on how to navigate university as a first-generation working-class student.
The most important thing is to know you are not alone, I have met lots of other working-class first-generation students. Yes some people at Warwick have a privileged private education very different from mine, but it is important to remember they are not the majority. Most people went to a state school, even if they are not first generation.
The Sixth form Warwick scholars programme was something I was apart of it is all about making university accessible to first-generation local students. I would encourage anyone in year twelve that meets the criteria to apply. It really helped me feel comfortable in a higher education environment. As a wheelchair user, I got to know my surroundings and realised that going to university could be for me.
Warwick runs a widening participation student network to connect first-generation and other underrepresented students with each other. They run at least one event per month. I have made some good friends in this community and it has helped me to feel less alone in my experiences. As although I’ve met some lovely people, some of them are from completely different backgrounds which felt a bit isolating. I am also part of the Warwick Scholars undergraduate group which continues the work of the sixth form programme and consolidates the community between first-generation and underrepresented students.
I have linked other Warwick outreach/widening participation programmes that might help you explore university if you would be a first-generation student.
It is important to note that Warwick offers various forms of financial support for low income and first-generation students if you are currently applying and concerned about money. The Warwick bursary can help you focus on succeeding in your studies and ease your financial worries, it definitely has for me.
Here is some information on other Warwick scholarships that might help you.
Before I come to university as a first-generation student reading week was a mystery to me, as my parents could not tell me about it. I assumed it was a week set aside for extra reading, although it is much more than that. It is a time for humanities and arts students (at least at Warwick) to read, research and rest after the busy chaos after the first half of term. STEM Students at most universities, including Warwick do not get a reading week halfway through the term like us which must be very tiring.
Reading week allows you time to breathe and catch up on work without worrying about the normal weekly workload of required reading, lectures and seminar preparation for each module. It gives you time to do additional reading and viewing (for film students) to help consolidate your knowledge.
In the reading week of term one I did essay research and writing. In term two I read a required book needed for the next week’s seminar.
I hope you found this post useful and it gave you an insight into being a first-generation student at Warwick and the options you have.