Two students working in writing center

Don’t go alone—get a mentor.

You First mentors

VCU You First mentors are first-generation college students who serve as guides to new first-generation VCU students.

How it works

First-generation VCU students have the opportunity to be matched with a mentor. These pairings are personally chosen by our staff. They are designed to connect you with someone with similar experiences and interests.    

Before you reach campus in your Freshman year, you’ll receive an email asking you to fill out a short questionnaire. This information will help us decide which mentor will be most helpful to you. Mentors are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Soon you’ll be contacted by your new mentor. If you don't currently have a mentor, you didn't miss out — apply now to be paired.

From then on, you’ll have regular contact with your mentor to help guide you through your first year of college. You can also join the You First at VCU student organization 

What’s in it for me?

  • Personalized guidance: all our mentors are first-generation students who once stood in your shoes. The help they provide is tailored to your experience.

  • Insider information: Where do you get the best pizza on campus? Which class looks fun and interesting but is actually grueling and time-consuming? Where should you do your laundry? What’s the best way to apply for a student job? Get your answers straight from the source.

  • Trusted advice: Remember, our mentors have been there before, and they’ve volunteered to help other first-generation students. They want to see you succeed. And sometimes, you just need someone to listen to you vent or give you some encouragement—your mentor can do that too.
MyMy Huynh
Sociology, class of 2023

What do you enjoy about being a mentor?
As a mentor, I enjoy being able to build connections with my mentees, giving them the support system they need and making sure they know I am here to help them within my abilities.

What do you value about being a first-gen student?
As a first-gen student, I value all the opportunities I've been able to receive, and these opportunities have helped me grow and figure out who I am. I also value the people I've met because they've been extremely helpful and supportive.

2023 You First Peer Mentor applications

Are you interested in helping first-gen students make a successful transition into VCU?

Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who will have a 2.5 GPA by the end of the Spring 2022 semester are invited to apply to become peer mentors. No previous experience is required. Accepted peer mentors participate in a spring training program and take the fall service-learning course UNIV 391: Advanced Peer Mentoring and Leadership. 

Are you hesitant because you think you might not know enough to be a good mentor? That’s a common misconception. Mentors are not expected to know everything, and the training process is comprehensive. You’ll be well prepared!

A letter of recommendation is required as part of the application process, but if you haven’t yet formed a connection with a faculty or staff member, don’t let that stop you. Email youfirst@vcu.edu and let us know. We’ll help you brainstorm options.

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year will open in November 2022.