First generation students face unique challenges as they seek to adjust to the law school environment and pursue their dreams of legal education. Balancing school work and family life, handling financial pressures, and dealing with unfamiliar expectations can all be more difficult for first generation students. Many first generation students have difficulty assimilating and feel isolated not only from other students but also from their families and home communities. Unable to draw upon the experiences and advices of family members, many feel unprepared for the rigorous academic work and personal changes that come with enrollment at a top law school.
Mentorship relationships can address these issues by providing first generation and economically disadvantaged students access to King Hall faculty or staff members who have faced many of the same challenges. Many, including Dean Kevin R. Johnson and Senior Associate Dean Afra Afsharipour, were first-generation college students themselves. In addition to giving practical advice to the new students about how to best manage their time, study, and utilize college resources, staff and faculty mentors offer personal guidance, insight, and fellowship that help students feel at home, make choices that are right for them, and reach their full potential as students and legal professionals.