First-Generation College Students

The College Scoops Podcast

Episode 65: How Best to Support Our First-Generation College Students with Kristina Dooley

March 23, 2021

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Now more than ever we as a society need to provide resources and support for first-generation students to help them navigate not only the college application process but every stage of the college journey – applying, attending, and graduating from college. We invited Kristina Dooley, a first-generation student herself and President of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and Founder of Estrela Consulting to share her story, insights, and resources that are available to high school and college students.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Cleveland Scholarship Program – Mentorship and scholarship opportunities exist for students allowing first-generation and low-income students
  • Obstacles first-generation students face
    • College Readiness
    • Lack of self-esteem and family support
    • Financial support
  • College resources available for first-generation students
    • Intentional and formalized programming at colleges for all four years
    • Colleges have launched programs during the summer to prepare students prior to arrival on campus
    • Technology – providing access and technology for students
    • Food pantry
    • Access to transportation
    • Lending closet for Interviews
  • Mentoring programs at colleges help to build a community of students who support each other
  • Additional support organizations for students
  • Advice for students in a virtual environment
    • Be intentional about your schedule
    • Get into a routine
    • Leverage the opportunities that exist because of the virtual environment – reach out to people ono LinkedIn.
    • Mental health – take care of yourself – take daily walks, listen to podcasts, read a book, and take some time for yourself

Important Resources and Links:

Meet Kristina Dooley

First-Generation Students

Kristina L. Dooley is a Certified Educational Planner (CEP) and founder of Estrela Consulting, an Ohio-based independent educational consulting firm. Kristina has more than 20 years of experience working with students from around the world navigating the complex college and school search processes. A first-generation college student, she is a graduate of Hiram College (B.A.) and Kent State University (M.A.). In addition to her work with students, Kristina is an instructor for the University of California Irvine teaching College Consulting Resources and has served as a faculty member of the IECA Summer Training Institute for aspiring educational consultants.

Kristina is the President of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and sits on the Board of the IECA Foundation. She is also a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Ohio and International Associations for College Admission Counseling (OACAC & IACAC), and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). In addition, Kristina is a member of the Hiram College Board of Visitors, serves on the Leadership Council of Beyond Type 1, and is a volunteer mentor for College Now Greater Cleveland.

Kristina, an alumna of the College Now program (formerly Cleveland Scholarship Program), serves as a mentor for several students in the program and is proud to be President of the inaugural College Now Emerging Leaders Association. Kristina and her husband and Estrela Co-Founder, Greg, currently reside in Northeast Ohio with their triplets.

Thank you Kristina for joining us today to share your insights and advice helping first-generation college students and parents navigate not only the college admissions process but also sharing the tools and resources available at colleges. Colleges have intentional and formalized programs in place to help students before they arrive on campus and organizations like peer mentor programs to assist students during their college years. Students take advantage of reaching out to professionals to ask for their advice – people are willing to share their stories, experiences, and tips. Do not forget to create a schedule and stick to it. Take care of yourself – everyone needs a mental health break and make sure to structure your day to allow yourself downtime as that is more important now than ever before.  

Episode 65 Full Transcript

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College Scoops Staff, Author

College Scoops has a team of college interns who share their insights and expertise with our community. Our team consists of editors, writers, videographers, social media experts, and storytellers who work hard to produce relevant and interesting content for students (and parents) whether they are applying to, attending or graduating from college.

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