First-Generation Mentor Program


Finding a Mentor

The First-Generation Mentor Program focuses on your professional and career development by pairing you with USC alumni who were also first-generation college students.

What You Will Gain

You will gain professional development and career direction while fostering a relationship with a person who can be a mentor and role model. You will be able to discuss any concerns or challenges you face as a first-generation college student at USC while gaining support, direction, and connectivity from your mentor.

“I came in thinking that I would have a mentor to ask about questions regarding upper-level classes and a few tips here and there and I knew I was going to get some professional advice from the workshops. However, I got more than that. I developed a professional and personal friendship with my mentor, and I plan to continue remaining in contact with him because of how helpful he has been. I received the mentorship I was expecting, but to the degree at which he has helped me and guided me, surpassed my expectations for this program. The program workshops themselves have been far more helpful than I expected. It was so beneficial listening to people who understood what I was going through and to see how they have learned from that. It was more than just a typical powerpoint presentation.”

“I did not expect to find confidence in my skills, but this helped me develop confidence and become less afraid of attending networking events and career fairs.”

“I really enjoyed my experience with the program. I enjoyed working with my mentor and making connections with other first-generation students on campus. The monthly meetings were great and I enjoyed the various workshops that we participated in.”

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend these amazing workshops, as well as have met such a caring mentor who really supported my journey these two semesters of my sophomore year and transition into searching for internships.”

After their year of mentorship, mentees have continued to keep in touch with mentors (their own and others in the program). They have secured internships in all different industries, gone on Maymesters, become Gateway Scholars, and conducted research. The possibilities are endless!

The Expectations

The program requires a commitment of one school year (October April). Throughout each semester, we will hold once-a-month workshops that all mentees and mentors are required to attend. These events will focus on career development and allow an opportunity for all program participants to network and interact as a group. A mandatory mentee orientation is held a week prior to the first mentee-mentor event in October.

Outside of our monthly mandatory events, mentors and mentees are expected to meet at least once per month on their own for a professional activity. Suggested professional activities include reviewing resumes, drafting cover letters, practicing interview skills, touring the company site, and going out to eat. Communication with your mentor is important – and it is a two-way street. Please do not expect alumni to only reach out to you to set up meetings! Be proactive, take initiative, and send the first message or make the first call.

As a reminder, use your best judgment when engaging with alumni. Review our Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Guidelines for policies on how to interact with alumni while developing a mentoring relationship. If an interaction is inappropriate or unprofessional, please notify us. We expect appropriate and professional engagement at all times.

Program Eligibility

Candidates must:

  • Maintain good academic standing.
  • Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at USC.
  • Have completed one full semester of classes at USC, with the exception of first-semester transfer students.
  • Remain on campus for both fall and spring semesters (cannot study abroad for the year of mentorship; December graduates are also ineligible).

Applications closed on September 15th!

Check back next August for the 2020-2021 application.


Selection Process

Students are selected through an application and interview process. Applications are typically due in mid-September, and interviews will occur in late September. Selected mentees will be notified via email in early October. There is no minimum GPA requirement.

Students are expected to demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills. Students must be able to commit to the program for the full academic year. Commitment to the program is demonstrated by responding to communication from the First-Generation Mentor Program (FGMP) coordinator and your mentor in a timely manner and being mindful of mandatory monthly events when registration for Spring classes occurs. This also includes notifying FGMP coordinator and mentor in the event of emergencies or absences.

USC Alumni

If you were a first-generation college student and would like to become a mentor to one of our undergraduate students, click here to learn more.

If you have any questions, contact Gina Ibrahim at (213) 740-9654 or

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