The University of Iowa

First Gen Hawks

Hawkeye students on a bench downtown


Welcome to the Hawkeye family at the University of Iowa! As you plan for a successful first year at the University of Iowa, consider joining a new program designed specifically for first generation college students, First Gen Hawks.

A first-generation student is a student whose parents or guardians do not have a 4-year degree. We know that our first-generation Hawkeyes are resilient, resourceful, and accomplished. You have worked hard to get where you are today and we are here to support your continued academic journey. We also know that first-generation students may have additional questions about the college experience. The First Gen Hawks program is designed to equip you with the tools, resources, and supports that will help you reach your goals.

The First Gen Hawks Experience provides 200 new Hawkeyes a way to engage in activities that enhance the college experience within and beyond the classroom through experiential learning.

Program Benefits

First Gen Hawks has numerous benefits as you start your Hawkeye Journey – such as moving in early, making connections with staff and faculty, meeting new people, making memories, and finding a new community on campus.



Program Components

1. Engage with campus through a learning track area.

First Gen Hawks will have an opportunity to connect with the university in a meaningful way through one of three learning track areas: on-campus employment, undergraduate research, or leadership & engagement. Each area has a seminar class in the fall and spring semesters that explores your track and tips for success. First Gen Hawk Seminars are one-credit hour courses, specifically designed to facilitate your transition to college and skill development necessary for collegiate learning.

Through in-class and out of class activities, students will explore which area best fits their professional and personal goals and interests during the fall semester! Students will select their specific track focus for the spring semester.




As a Hawkeye, you have the opportunity to actively engage and make a difference in our community. This track will explore foundations and purpose of leadership & engagement. Students will be encouraged to participate in activities and organizations within the Office of Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement, work with staff in the Pomerantz Career Center to explore internships, and explore other opportunities to serve our community. At the University of Iowa, research is happening all around us. Students from every major have the opportunity to work closely with faculty as they answer complex questions about their scholarly work and make exciting new discoveries. Whether you are hoping to learn more about a specific topic within your major, gain skills needed to pursue your academic dreams or you are hoping to build connections with faculty, undergraduate research is an invaluable experience for any Hawkeye. Students who work on campus, especially in their first semester, have higher GPAs, learn valuable skills that help them succeed, and make positive connections with campus faculty, staff, and other students. All FGH students will have the option to select if you would like to be placed with an on-campus job location starting in your first semester. While it is not a requirement to participate in the program, your job on campus will give you new opportunities, supportive supervisors who will help you understand the connection between your learning in the classroom and on the job, and a paycheck. You’ll also develop great professional skills through your student employment experience which will be important to future success.

2. Connections with a peer mentor throughout the academic year.

Peer mentors are current students who provide a unique perspective on the college transition and assist with strategies for your social and academic success. The peer mentors will help out in first-year seminars and provide additional support outside of class.

3. Enhanced academic support and coaching.

Enhanced academic support and coaching with a professional staff member who will help you set your academic goals and create an action plan to meet them.

4. Exclusive events and opportunities just for First Gen Hawks participants. 

You will be invited to exclusive events and opportunities just for First Gen Hawks participants. Dinner with the Deans, special programming during On Iowa! week and Finals Week, early registration and early move-in to the residence halls are just a few of the perks of being a First Gen Hawk!

How ...

To Join?

Students can join by logging in to their Admissions Profile on MyUI and completing the interest form for First Gen Hawks.


Priority will be given to students who complete the interest form by May 16, 2022.


Much Does it Cost?

The early arrival on campus, the coaching, the guidance, the seminar course, the connections, the memories–all of this is free.


Students who do not participate in the entire program after arriving on campus will be responsible for all early move-in fees and meals.

Much Time Does it Take?

The First Gen Hawks Experience is designed to help you succeed in your first year on campus. Every minute spent with the program will help you gain useful skills in the classroom and beyond. The amount of time spent may vary depending on the track you choose.

However, the average participant will spend 1-hour in the classroom, 1-2 hours preparing for class completing readings or assignments, 1-hour meeting with their Peer Mentor and/or Academic Coach and 5-10 hours completing the experiential component (service, employment or research). Please know that these are estimated times and things might vary based on your own interests and the time of year. At the end of the day, we are here for YOU!

Contact Us

University College

1st Gen @ Iowa logo

The University of Iowa is committed to improving experiences and outcomes for first-generation students. 1stGen@Iowa provides campus-wide leadership and recognition of students, staff, and faculty who have made a difference at the University of Iowa.


If you still have questions, please check out the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about First Gen Hawks.