At UVM a first-generation college student is defined as those for whom no parent or guardian completed a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university.

As a first-generation college student, you have important strengths that you bring to your education and your career development (Wiljanen, 2003).

  • A willingness and courage to “be first” and to take risks in pursuing education and a career 

  • A genuine, intrinsic desire to have a better life through higher education

  • The power to overcome the odds

  • Wanting to bring pride to family, school, community, and/or yourself with academic and career achievements 

The UVM Career Center is committed to supporting first-generation students in their career exploration, readiness, and professional development process. Navigating college and career resources can seem intimidating especially if it is new for you or your family. This page is filled with resources, articles, and tips to help you navigate the career process. Here’s how we can support you during your time at UVM! 

Build Personal & Professional Connections

Be a part of FirstGen@UVM. Explore the growing opportunities to connect with UVM's first-generation community, engage with UVM's student club dedicated to first-gen students at UVM, explore community profiles, and submit your story to be featured across our FirstGen@UVM's Spotlight Series.

Student Self-Identification and Interests Form. If you identify as a first-generation student and would like to join our community, please indicate your interests around FirstGen@UVM participation via the link above. This will sign you up to receive communications about community-building events, development workshops, and informational newsletters.

Networking Resources


Handshake is an online platform that serves as a board for jobs and events specifically for college students, so you will not be competing with others who have years of professional experience. It is an excellent place to begin a job search and we recommend that students start their job search by creating an account and seeing what is available on Handshake. Creating a profile may seem intimidating, but it’ll be okay! You can go at your own pace, and the Career Center is here to give you advice on building a strong profile.

Career Interest Groups

The Career Center has seven Career Interest Groups. Each group is focused on a cluster of related career fields.  Just let us know your interests and every month we will send you info about a specific professional field, campus events and organizations, alums, job/internship postings and other opportunities for students to explore and gain experience. You can join as many interest groups as you’d like! Join an Interest Group with this form

UVM Connect

UVM Connect is the best way to tap into a supportive professional network. Catamounts can explore career paths, find job opportunities, network, and stay in touch with current UVM students and alums in this exclusive online community. Join various groups to engage other members of the UVM community. Find mentorships and build your professional network! It's free and easy to join. 

Paid Opportunities

UVM Internship Scholarships are available to support your access to summer internships.  These scholarships help cover living costs (food, transportation, housing, and cost of living expenses) of unpaid or "under-paid" summer internships. "Under-paid" means that you may receive some payment for your internship, but not enough to cover your essential needs. 

Micro-Internships: are flexible, short-term, and paid professional assignments. Unlike a traditional semester-long internship, a micro-internship project will usually involve between 5 and 40 hours of work and is a great resume builder. They can be done remotely and are offered throughout the year. A micro-internship is a great option for students who wish to gain paid professional development experience through a short-term commitment. 

In-person Career Support

We know balancing your academics, work and personal life is not always easy, and we are here to provide you with resources and support that help you create and activate your future. How can you find us? 

  • After a drop-in session, you will be eligible to schedule a follow-up meeting  through Handshake

Drop-ins are an easy way to answer your career questions. Conversations typically take between 5 and 15 minutes and are open to all UVM students and alums. If you are unable to make our drop-in times, please email with your question/s.

During drop-ins, you can chat with a Peer Leader and get the answers to career questions, like: 

  • How does my major impact my career? 

  • How do I find a summer job or internship? 

  • Where can I get feedback on my resume?  

  • ...and more!  

No question is too big or small, and we are happy to support you with whatever you need! You can also bring your resumes and cover letters to be reviewed by Peer Leaders in person.  


Identity Resources

The first-generation experience can overlap with other identities that you may hold. You are not alone in this! There are many identity resources on our campus and although they might not specifically mention first-generation students, you will find many people who share your stories in these spaces.