Tisch First Generation Students

Am I First Gen?

There are a lot of definitions of First Generation. At Tisch, we want to be as inclusive as possible in our understanding of this term because they are all worth celebrating. Chances are if you have reached this page it’s not only because you think you may be First Gen, but also because you are looking for a resource you haven’t yet found. We’re here to help no matter what.

But What Does it Mean to be First Generation?

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines a First Gen student as:

(A) An individual both of whose parents did not complete a baccalaureate degree;


(B) In the case of any individual who regularly resided with and received support from only one parent, an individual whose only such parent did not complete a baccalaureate degree.

The Center for First-Generation Student Success has a helpful guide that explores some of the nuances left unanswered by the above definition. If your sibling has a college degree, if your parents completed a college degree outside the US or later in life (after you were born), you may still find that you self-identify as a student who does not have personal or familial experience navigating institutions of higher ed.

The Bottom Line: At Tisch, when we talk about First Gen, we mean anyone who identifies with any of the above definitions, believes they have a similar life experience, and/or is looking for support to help them succeed at Tisch, where we want every student to feel a sense of belonging, no matter their background.


How does NYU/Tisch Identify First Generation Students?

  • Many students are identified by information they provide regarding their parent(s) education on the Common App.

  • You can also self-identify after enrolling by telling your advisor.They can update your information in NYU Connect.

  • If you want to check your First Gen status reach out to tisch.student.affairs@nyu.edu.

NYU First Gen Facts

  • 4,915 undergraduate students at NYU are considered First Gen

  • That’s 18% of the undergraduate population

  • 30.5% of First Gen students at NYU identify as Hispanic

  • 60% of First Gen students at NYU identify as female, 40% as male

  • 50% of First Gen students at NYU are Pell grant recipients

  • The most popular Tisch major for First Gen students is Drama. 4.03% of all NYU First Gen students are Theater majors.


Center for Multicultural Education and Programs: CMEP offers a vast array of educational and social events, programs, and resources that aim to engage, support, empower, and celebrate students of color and those of historically marginalized and excluded groups—throughout NYU’s global network and around the world.

Financial Literacy Resources: Are you learning to handle your finances? Figuring out how to manage a phone plan/food/textbooks/life? We've got help for that! Sign up for online classes, meet one-on-one with a coach, and more.

First Gen Yes You Can: Student-run community resource on Instagram.

Food Accessbility Assistance: NYU seeks to help any student on campus experiencing hunger or what's known as "food insecurity." If you are hungry, we can help. Visit this page and tell your advisor ASAP.

Letter to NYU First Gen Students: Hear from another First Gen student.

Office of Student Success: This office provides guidance and support to students, including academic coaching, individualized guidance, tech resources, and beyond.

Student Success Glossary: Hearing terminology you don’t know? This guide can help familiarize you with terms commonly used on campus. 

NYU Engage: An online community where NYU students can create and join clubs and organizations. You'll find clubs like FLIP, a First Generation & Low Income student Group, as well as hundreds of other on-campus clubs and events.

Resource Roundup: NYU put together a list of some of the most popular First Gen resources. This page is intended for prospective students, but has information useful to those who have already enrolled as well.

Study Away Financial Resources: As a global university, NYU hopes to make studying away a reality for ALL its students. With that in mind, there are study away specific financial resources available, including scholarships and grants.

Tisch Career Services: Looking for arts-specific career advice? Meet with a counselor, workshop your resume, find an internship, and learn about your future employment possibilities.

Wasserman First Gen Career Programs: Career programming specifically for First Gen students to help prepare them for the workforce.

Who’s Who and What’s What for First-Gen Students: Watch this Zoom info-session to learn more about the people on campus who are working with First Gen students and what they do! (you will need to login to NYUhome to access the link).

Featured First Gen Student: Jean Zamora

Department of Photography & Imaging, Class of 2022

Jean Zamora Portrait on beach with sunset in the background

What made you want to attend Tisch? "I wanted to attend Tisch because the idea of artists teaching artists to get a firsthand learning experience seemed too good to pass up, and I felt like I'd really fit in to the community here."

What do you wish you'd known when you arrived that you know now? "Finding a balance in your college life is super difficult but super important; I'm starting my senior year and I still struggle with it. It's very easy to get so wrapped up in one aspect of college life that you neglect another, so figuring out a way to balance everything that works for you should be a priority."

What advice do you have for newly arrived first gen students? "As a first generation student there's an added amount of pressure on you to do well and make yourself and your family proud. It's important not to let that pressure keep you from enjoying your college experience. College is really about so much more than just preparing for a job after graduation, so don't let that pressure keep you from becoming fully immersed in it."

Where can we find your work? This is my website, which has a portfolio of my work and is being consistently updated as I continue to create.

  • Anita Gupta portrait against grey background

    A Letter From Anita Gupta

    Associate Dean, Student Affairs, First Gen Student

    Dear First Generation Students,

    Congratulations on your journey to Tisch and NYU! You made it and we are thrilled to welcome you into our community. You are or may be one of the first members of your immediate family to attend college in the US. How wonderful that you have worked hard and remained committed to your goals. And now you are joining the Tisch and NYU communities as we commit to your success here. As a first generation college student myself, I know the complexities of navigating college, the multitude of resources, the range of course options, and all the opportunities in front of you, can be overwhelming. We are here to help you.

    Our office will be creating and offering events specifically for our first generation students and this page is filled with helpful resources for you!

    The most important piece of information I want to leave with you is if you have a question and don’t know how to find the answer or a concern you need to discuss, please come by or contact Tisch Student Affairs - 726 Broadway, 2nd floor. We are a dedicated group of 20 professionals with one goal in mind - to help our students navigate our school and university as seamlessly as possible.

    I look forward to meeting you!