Wake Forest prides itself on being a University which provides access and opportunity. For a growing population of Wake Forest students who are first-generation in college, we want to ensure that the means to acclimate, navigate and succeed are available to them. In Fall 2020, we welcomed 145 new first-generation students; that represents a 45% increase over 2019. This increased cohort of students is a welcome sign that Wake Forest is becoming a destination for more first-generation students who see the University as a welcoming place of committed faculty and staff.

However, our commitment to recruit and enroll first-generation students must be complemented by an equal commitment to making sure they thrive. The First in the Forest Program intends to support our first-generation students throughout their academic careers to ensure that they have the same academic assistance and opportunity afforded to other students.

In Fall 2020 there was a 45% increase over 2019 in incoming first generation students
Alondra Janicek

“Coming into Wake Forest, I didn’t realize how much support would be given to students like me. It feels like everybody has so much on their plate and is so accomplished. I definitely felt “Imposter Syndrome.” I was questioning myself. How did I make it here when everyone is so incredible and so talented? As my freshman year went on, I realized that I had earned my place.

Dr. French was able to walk me through the experiences of my freshman year: knowing how to create a resume, how to network, how to apply to internships. I learned that in my sophomore year.

I feel I’m in a really good place now. I want to extend a hand to future incoming freshmen. I’m part of the First In Flight program, which is meant for First Generation students. Recently, I met with a First Generation freshman. We had dinner. We talked for an hour and a half. I’m glad I was able to talk to him and explain how many resources we have available to us, but I want more people to know about it.”

Alondra Janicek ‘23

“As a first-generation college student myself, I am deeply committed to increasing access for underrepresented and underserved students. Successful recruitment and retention of these dedicated young people adds new perspectives to classroom discussion, raises important questions for campus consideration and enriches the teaching and learning environment for all.”

Eric Maguire, Vice President for Enrollment
Eric Maguire