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The Office of Access and Outreach is designed to help first-generation (1G) and high-need (HN) students take advantage of any and all of the opportunities available at Duke. We want every student to make the most of the experience here. The first step is to find out what’s out there and what you are interested in. The programs below are designed to provide information in an informal and informative way so that you can decide what you would like to participate in and how you want to build your Duke educational experience.

    Click the pic below to see what 1G Jamal Edwards '16 said about what the Pre-O program meant to him. 


The Duke LIFE (Low-Income/First Generation Engagement) is a student-run organization that develops and offers programming for students who identify as first-generation (1G) and/or high-need (HN) students.  The programs are built around what these students wish they had had when they began at Duke or what they believe would be helpful to them and others as they make their way toward graduation. 

Programming can be entirely social (movie nights, informal gatherings, Thanksgiving at Duke) or focused around an issue or event (graduation, grad school applications, returning home for the first time).  Any and all suggestions can be considered, organized and hosted in the A&O space.  Come and be a part of our 1G-HN family!

“Not only did it help me to understand the way my financial aid works, and the various resources and opportunities Duke had to offer me, but it helped me to find a community of people who were similar to myself. This community has stayed with me throughout my career at Duke, and has helped support me through my journey.”

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1G Pre-Orientation

If you do one thing to get going on the right foot, pre-orientation is it. Pre-O takes place over two days, prior to official move-in day, and it’s exclusively for students who are the first in their family to attend college. Faculty members lead workshops and students offer advice about how they have gotten used to the Duke environment and ways to make the best of the school’s resources. Here are a few kind words regarding 1G Pre-Orientation:

“It was great having this group of students who have been students here, have also been first-generation, and can tell me what it was like without sugarcoating things. Just tell me straight up—real talk.”

“The 1G Pre-Orientation program resolved nearly all of my fears and uncertainties immediately. It was an invaluable part of my transition to college.”

The program is free, with activities for the 1G students and their families designed to familiarize them with life at Duke, life away from home, and the challenges and exciting opportunities the students will have to negotiate in just a few days.  It’s a crash course in college life for students and families, but one that will help make the transition more manageable as both students and families develop contacts with administrators and faculty and build a community with each other.

“Justin Clapp’s practical advice, the student mentors’ shared experiences, and the community of 1G peers that I gained through the program meant the world to me. The confluence of these advantages made my first year at Duke a much smoother experience.”

“It was a great thing. My family was invited too, and they had translators. It was amazing that so much work was put into making sure students and family members are comfortable.”

View last year's schedule

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Duke Women LAUNCH!

If you’re a sophomore woman but are already thinking about life after college, Duke Women LAUNCH! is for you. This invitation-only program helps first-gen women identify interests and possible careers and learn to present them effectively in the job market. In the past, discussions have focused on the pressures faced by students—and women in particular—in a high-profile, highly competitive institution like Duke. Learn more about other's experiences with Duke Women LAUNCH!:

“I left the program with a better sense of my career options, as well as how to achieve my professional goals. It was extremely helpful to have guided sessions on various aspects of professional life, such as resume writing or interviewing.”

Join the Career Center, the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and fellow first-generation sophomore women to explore interests, investigate careers, create resumes and cover letters, and practice presentation skills in a welcoming, honest, and supportive community. 

“Being in a women-only environment was a transformative experience that helped me gain more confidence. I felt more free in expressing my concerns and opinions, and I also felt more respected. It was important to be around successful women who overcame obstacles, because learning about their career development and personal stories inspired me to keep working hard at my dreams. The mentorship aspect of the program was definitely helpful.”

“I gained helpful tips on dressing the part for interviews, drafting an eye-catching resume, networking in a fluid manner.”

More info on schedule and arrangements

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Developing Financial Confidence

Managing money requires foresight and planning. Learn how to make the most of what you have and gain confidence by developing a financial plan. Join a small supportive group of first-generation undergrads for 7 lunch-time workshops with members of the Office of Personal Finance and Undergraduate Financial Support to learn how to make the most of the funds you have and how to make smart forward-thinking financial decisions.  It’s often not how much you have but how you manage what you’ve got! Hear what other 1G students are saying:

“What I valued most about the Developing Financial Confidence Workshop was the chance to meet others who are navigating the same issues. “

“The workshop helped me to be more honest with the people around me regarding money. I talk about money more freely, and I feel comfortable enough to say no to things that aren't worth it to me. I don't feel like I'm letting my friends down when I say, "I'd rather spend my money on something else." 

View our course syllabus

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Financial Aid Renewal and Help (FARAH)

Join counselors from the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support to complete the required financial aid forms for next year.  

View the calendar and sign up

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Faculty Luncheon Series

Getting to know your professors can feel intimidating. These luncheons are a great way to hang out with Duke faculty in a low-key setting outside of the classroom. These small-group luncheons are free, and the subjects of conversation are whatever you want to talk about.

Enjoy a casual conversation over free lunch with faculty members across the disciplines at our Faculty Luncheon Series. All lunches are from 12:30pm - 1:30pm in the Office of Access and Outreach. Space is limited so sign up now!

*Please sign up for only ONE Faculty Lunch

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Student Leadership Opportunities

Join other first-generation college students at Duke to help new students take advantage of the opportunities available at Duke. Introduce someone to what you wish you had known when you first landed on campus!

Peer Mentors

As a 1G Peer Mentor, you take on one to two mentees, who you agree to meet with frequently over the course of the semester to answer questions,  steer towards activities and groups, suggest networks, and be a supportive, knowledgeable, fellow 1Ger.

View the peer mentor job description

1G Summer Assistants 

As a summer assistant, you work to develop and deliver programming for the Rubenstein Scholars Program and assist the professional staff to get the job done. Join us and work as a summer assistant and provide leadership and programming as you serve as mentor for the Rubenstein Scholars Summer Academic Experience which runs for six weeks in the summer, starting in July.. Training, supervision, and compensation provided.

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Outings and Activities

Each semester we have a number of free outings and activities so we can come together as a community, enjoy an event in our neighborhood or in downtown Durham, and experience something we might not otherwise take the time to do. Join us! All tickets are free and require only an RSVP and commitment to attend once you’ve responded. 

“The most beautiful moment of my freshman year was when the office bought tickets for a bunch of 1G students to see The Lion King at DPAC. Orchestra seats, I was crying.”

Sign up for our Listserv to get latest info on outings and events!

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