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Welcome to Biola, FirstGen Students!

A first-generation college student is someone who is in the first generation of their family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in the United States. FirstGen students come in many variations. Perhaps one or both of your parents attended college but haven’t graduated with their bachelor’s degree. Or maybe your parents graduated from college in another country, or you weren’t raised by your biological parents who attended college. Or maybe your parents are going to college at the same time as you. Whatever your story is, we are glad you are at Biola!

  • Instagram logo   Follow @firstgenbiola on Instagram to stay up-to-date with all things FirstGen.


FirstGen Scholars Program

The FirstGen Scholars is a scholarship program designed for incoming freshman and transfer FirstGen students who are interested in connecting to a community, developing in their story and thriving in their identity.

Explore the FirstGen Scholars Program

Summer Bridge

All incoming FirstGen students are welcomed to join us in our annual Summer Bridge event! It’s a free two-week online event where students have the opportunity to participate in a program that will help them transition into Biola, and position them for a thriving college experience.

Explore the FirstGen Summer Bridge

Nationally Recognized

FirstGen Forward Institution

Biola’s FirstGen program is a nationally recognized First-Gen Forward Institution! We are excited to join NASPA’s 2021-2022 Cohort for First-Gen institutions leading the way in excellence, service and commitment to our FirstGen students. FirstGen forever!


FirstGen Student Stories

Watch what some of our FirstGen students have to share about the FirstGen program at Biola University.

Estephanie Ramirez
Estephanie Ramirez

Watch the video and get to know journalism student Estephanie as she shares about her FirstGen experience at Biola.

Dillon Sunday
Dillon Sunday

Watch the video to meet bible and theology student Dillon as he shares his powerful testimony of how the FirstGen program has helped him experience God during a hard season in his life.

Disclaimer: Some content discussed in this video may be sensitive to some viewers. Discretion advised.

FirstGen Scholars Alumni Testimonies
FirstGen Scholars Alumni Testimonies

Our FirstGen students are passionate about the next generation. Watch the video to hear some of the advice and encouragement our FirstGen Alumni have to share with you.

From Our Students to you!

Here are some tips

Grecia Cordova Galdamez

There are no dumb questions, always ask questions. I had the opportunity to grow, and learn and become more of what God has prepared for me. I was able to make connections and friends, which it was key in adapting to a new community as a transfer student.

Grecia Cordova Galdamez (B.F.A. in Studio Arts)

Jasmine Alvarez

My biggest advice would be to take advantage of what FirstGen has to offer you. The people who make up FirstGen genuinely have your best interest in heart and are more than happy to help you in any way possible. Allow yourself to be open and actively participate in the community, the more involved you are, the more experiences you’ll be able to have!

Jasmine Alvarez (B.S. in Biological Sciences)

Isaiah Harrison

Loneliness is a feeling that you're bound to experience at times but it should never be something that you dwell on. The people at Biola are just so warm, kind, and willing to help you that it's kinda impossible to charge into the college journey alone. I still encourage any FirstGen students to reach out and be outgoing. It's tough, especially if you're shy or introverted, but getting out of your comfort zone will make all the difference and actually allow you to expand what you would call your "comfort zone" in the long run.

Isaiah Harrison (B.A. in Cinema and Media Arts)

Debra Mlambo

I would say to dive in — this community is so beautiful. Get to know your cohort and let them in. My cohort grew in so many ways because we relied on one another and two years later, we are all still so close. FirstGen is not just a community at Biola, it's a family.

Debra Mlambo (B.A. in Psychology)

Fredy Merida De Leon Jr

Don’t be afraid of reaching out to your teacher and TA’s — they are always there to help you. Remember that you are not alone in college. The goal is to get a degree, but also take advantage during this time to join extracurricular activities on campus. If you’re having a rough time, seek help from the student leaders around you. Just like God had something prepared for the woman at the well, he will always bring you home.

Fredy Merida De Leon Jr. (B.S. in Engineering Physics)

Jermaine Brack

Soak everything in while you’re at Biola. College may seem scary, but Biola is so much more than a college. It is an education and spiritual melting pot. I am so excited for anyone who comes to Biola because I know their faith will really change, and your relationship with God will definitely become stronger.

Jermaine Brack (B.A. in Communications Studies)