National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, 2021, Vol. 17:258–59


Copyright © 2021 National Collegiate Honors Council


Authors describe the college’s First-Gen Student Network, a cohort of faculty, students, and practitioners committed to equity, access, and success of firstgeneration learners. Optional biweekly meetings address a range of topics, including financial aid and opportunities for employment.

The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi often prides itself on being the edge of the knife in conversations about equity and access, yet such conversations only work in honors when we commit tangible actions and resources to generate positive outcomes. Over the last couple of years, we have recognized a group that was consistently forgotten in our campus conversations and in our honors community: first-generation college students. We realized that we were not linking success in the classroom with success in the community at large. We also noticed that the imposter syndrome, which holds many students back from achieving their full potential inside and outside the classroom, seems to be heightened among first-generation students. As a result, we decided that first-generation students did not need another club to add to their résumé or mindless activities to fill their time. They needed a network of resources that would make the transition to college life easier and, subsequently, make success and upward mobility feel more feasible and tangible.