Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

First-in-Family Programs

First-in-Family Programs

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering are proud to have approximately 1,000 undergraduates who are the first in their family to attend college. First-in-Family (FiF) Programs encourages the success of every first-generation college student at Columbia via year-long academic support, professional development, and cultural enrichment opportunities.

What does it mean to be First-in-Family?  First-in-Family is by definition a secondary identity. First-in-Family’s first-generation college students hail from every corner of the socioeconomic spectrum, every racial/ethnic background, and every area of study.  For our program, “first-generation college student” is identified as a student whose parent(s)/guardian(s) have not received a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree or completed a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree later in life. 

First-in-Family Programming  The First-in-Family philosophy is "students don't know what they don't know."  First-in-Family Programs introduces students to the possibilities available to them during and after their Columbia education.

  • Academic Support: First-in-Family Programs, in collaboration with several partner offices, offers academic support including free tutoring and a robust schedule of academic seminars and workshops.  For more information, please click the events tab (in the left hand column) or by visiting the Academic Resources in Support of Excellence (ARISE) page. 
  • Professional Development: First-in-Family Programs hosts “Career Days” offering first-generation college students the opportunity to visit employers throughout New York City.  From structural engineering to social entrepreneurship, First-in-Family students gain access to a wide network of industry leaders while going behind-the-scenes on worksites to learn the ins and outs of various fields.
  • Cultural Enrichment: First-in-Family Programs believes arts and culture comprise a meaningful part of every college student’s education.  Through partnerships with leading arts and performance venues, First-in-Family Programs offers complimentary tickets to theater, museums, and the performing arts throughout the academic year.

Contact Us

First-in-Family Programs may be reached via email at; programming is announced weekly through the First-in-Family listserv.  Students are also encouraged to contact any advising dean from the First-in-Family unit to learn more about First-in-Family resources.    

Alex España
Associate Dean
Jillian Burdziak
Advising Dean
Darius V. Echeverría, PhD
Advising Dean
Jamie Yen Tan
Advising Dean

First-in-Family Programs

403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Walk-in Hours (Sept-May)
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.