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For many first generation Latino students, the college experience can be both exciting and overwhelming. The stressful college admission process, the thrill of being accepted, commuting or settling into a dorm, new friends and faculty—there’s no doubt that college is a challenging and transformational experience.

For parents of students, the experience can be bittersweet. Many feel pride, but wonder how they can best support their children’s educational journey. Many worry about how their children will get adjusted to new freedoms, or if they will excel or struggle at schoolwork.


Below you will find some resources to help both student and parent navigate the entire college experience.


Tips for high school seniors starting the college application process:

  • Make sure to spend a lot of time doing research. Some key things to consider include: The school’s cost and reputation (many times publicly funded schools are just as good and many times cheaper than private schools). Whether the school supports your interests or intended majors. Application requirements (i.e., essays, grades, SAT/ACT scores etc.). Distance from home (public transportation or driving is cheaper than flying to and from a distant school). It is ideal to come up with a list of 5 to 8 schools and try to visit them either in person or virtually.

  • Meet with your college advisor as soon as possible, preferably on the third week in September. They can help you with your applications for all the different schools, apply for scholarships, and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA application.

  • Manage your time efficiently during your school year. Remember that while you are working on college applications, you will also have your regular schoolwork to take care of and your grades must be maintained. 

  • Practice mindfulness and self-care. This process can take a toll on you, therefore make sure to surround yourself with loved ones and do activities that help you de-stress.  

  • Be open-minded. Your mind (and heart) might be set on going to a specific school. However, understand that you might ultimately be accepted somewhere else that best fits your situation - and that is completely okay! Your path is different from others, so try not to compare yourself to your peers.

Tips for College Students

  • Become familiar with your campus—find the different tutoring centers, student activities, etc. This will help you become involved, meet new people and know where to go when you need help in a class.

  • Establish a routine throughout your week to stay on top of your health and schoolwork. In college, you will have a lot of freedom, and while that is exciting, it is also important to take care of yourself and to pass your classes.

  • Know and understand that you belong, and that as a Latinx student you bring unique gifts and perspectives to your classes. Oftentimes, you might experience feelings of doubt and uncertainty, especially because there might not be a lot of people who look like you. Make sure to find them and they can become part of your support system. Know your worth!

  • Go to faculty office hours. Whenever there is a subject in your class that you are not familiar with, do not be afraid to ask your professor for help. Speak and become acquainted with them so they can explain the subject in a way you can understand.

  • Find a campus or off-campus job after your first semester/first year of school to help pay for any expenses you might have. In-campus jobs, or work study, can also allow you to pay for your tuition while you are maintaining the different guidelines it might have. Speak to a financial advisor to inquire about a work study program that best fits your schedule and needs.


Here are some tips, for parents, on how best to support their college student:

  • Establish regular calls to stay in contact. It might be ideal to negotiate times where you can check-in regularly.

  • Be involved in their college journey, but remember they must make their own choices, and you should want to encourage them to become independent adults.

  • Do not shame your child about their college experience (I.e., grades, involvement, making friends etc.). 

  • Be prepared for change. This is a period where your young adult is finding out who they are.

  • Be excited! It may be difficult at first, but this is a memorable step for you and your young adult, and you almost certainly want to be there for them.



Hispanic Federation launched the CREAR Futuros (College Readiness, Achievement and Retention) program in 2012 to address the systemic barriers that prevent many Latinx students from earning a college degree. CREAR Futuros is a “Community of Care” model program that is providing Latinx college students with direct, peer-based support. The program is helping to boost Latinx student GPA, college retention, course completion, and graduation rates through the following components: peer-mentorship, leadership and professional development, and connection to social services.  



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CREAR Futuros is a program funded and operated by Hispanic Federation. For more information about Hispanic Federation, visit:

55 Exchange Place, 5th Floor,

New York, NY, 10005


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