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We’re here to help first-year students transition into college life and have  the best possible experience at Georgian. We offer success workshops, one-on-one mentors, fun events and assistance with any questions you may have.

Visit a First Year Experience mentor on your campus today – we are ready to get you where you need to go!


Resources once you’re here

Visit the following sites for more information on how we can help you succeed.

Parents and families, you are welcome to connect with the First Year Experience office for assistance with questions and receiving helpful resources.

NEW STUDENT GUIDE Everything you need to know as a new student


For more information, please contact or visit your local campus. You can also connect with the First Year Experience team through our parent Facebook Page or main Facebook page  for events and activities on campus.


Growler at orientationEach new year, college students face any number of questions, common issues or obstacles. First Generation students are the first in their families to attend college or university, and may have unique needs and experiences. If your parents or guardians did not attend college or university, they might not be familiar with how to help you with some of those challenges. That’s where we come in – we can support you in the transition to college and throughout your program.

Am I a First Generation student?

If your parents have not attended postsecondary education, then you’re the first! First Generation students are students whose parents did not attend full-time or part-time postsecondary studies in Canada, or elsewhere. Current and former Crown Ward students are also considered First Generation and entitled to access the support of a First Gen mentor.

Georgian College’s First Generation program includes First Gen mentors to assist students with questions, concerns or advice around postsecondary life.  We also offer events and activities for First Gen students. Think of your First Gen mentor as your “go to person” on campus. They are here to help support you and answer any of your questions or concerns regarding your college journey. Services we provide:

  • Individual advising with First Gen mentors
  • One-on-one transition support
  • Connections with Student Services (disability services, counselling, peer services, learning strategies, testing services, adaptive technology, Crown Ward supports and more)
  • Information and referral to other college resources and academic supports
  •  First Gen newsletters to keep you informed
  • Information on bursaries, financial aid and employment on campus
  • Social events and networking opportunities
  • Free workshops (online and in person)

Not sure where to go, or what’s available? Speak to us and we can help you out. We’re here to support you. Looking for services on campus? Check out this helpful list of services on campus!

First Generation studentsHere at Georgian we’re committed to helping First Generation students achieve their educational goals by breaking down the barriers — be they financial, personal or academic. Georgian College is pleased to announce the government of Ontario has allocated bursary funding to assist First Gen students in financial need through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Access and Opportunities Strategy. Last year’s value: 100 bursaries at $500.

To apply for the bursary you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be a First Generation student – a student whose parents have never attended full-time or part-time postsecondary studies in Canada or elsewhere (or a current or former Crown Ward with the Children’s Aid Society)
  • Have completed an OSAP application for the current academic year – you do not need to be approved or use the funding, however you need to have applied
  • Be enrolled full time in the current academic year of study and be in good academic standing
  • Be returning to full-time study at Georgian College for the winter or summer semester
  • Complete the full Ontario First Generation application and demonstrate a financial need on the budget provided in the application

Application deadline for the First Generation bursary is the last business day in January. Applications will be accepted in the Financial Aid office throughout the fall semester. For other information regarding the bursary as well as a link to download it, visit our financial bursaries section. The First Generation bursary is not guaranteed and is very competitive; we encourage students to look at other awards, scholarships and bursaries as well. Contact your First Gen mentor for information on bursary and awards workshops, or one-on-one appointments to assist in completing your applications.

We understand that as a parent or family member of a student attending Georgian, you are a strong contributor to their success. Often  parents want to be involved in their student’s educational journey, but they don’t know where to start. We have included some information and links we feel would benefit you and help you support your student. Don’t forget to connect with Georgian through our parent Facebook Page , main Facebook page  or events and activities on campus.

Parent and supporter resources

For information on activities, events and resources for parents and supporters of our students,  you may contact your campus First Year Transition Advisor:

Terri Edmonstone (Barrie, Midland and Orangeville)

705.728.1968, ext.1920

Don’t forget to connect with the First Year Experience team through our parent Facebook Page , main Facebook page  for events and activities on campus.
Important links

Office of the Registrar important dates

Campus information

Georgian College programs

Student Success Services

First Year Experience

Tip #1 – Communication

  • If you are looking for ways to keep in touch with your child while away at school, technology will make it easier.
  • Communication is about convenience. Traditional phone calls are nice, but must be planned around mutually convenient times. Email, instant messaging, Skype, Twitter, Facebook chat, Facebook messages and wall posts increase your chances of connecting to someone long distance and don’t always require an immediate response.
  • Have a plan about when to keep in touch. Are certain days better? Times? Discuss with your student what your expectations are around communication and seek their input.

Tip #2 – Common ground

  • College can be a long period of time to be away from family and many things change for students while they are away.  “How’s school?” is often too general as a topic-starter.
  • Consider familiarizing yourself with your student’s course of study. Ask for details and get specific about the lessons, if you’re truly interested. This can open dialogue and keep you involved.
  • Talking about things other than school is important too and it goes both ways.  You might be anxious to know what’s happening with them, but they are likely interested in knowing how things are at home.  Open up dialogue by sharing first, rather than hitting them with a series of questions.

Tip #3 – Know the people and places

  • Keep aware of new friends and new activities.  Knowing the layout of the residence/campus might help when hearing or telling stories.  Knowing the names and relationships of the people involved will help keep you engaged.  Students might hold back if telling you something means explaining too much.
  • For safety reasons, it would also be good to keep up-to-date records of cell phones for friends/roommates.  Becoming engaged in social media might help with this also.

Tip #4 – Support your student in becoming independent

  • You may have heard the term ‘helicopter parent’. A helicopter hovers over the people below.  The metaphor is often used to describe parents/guardians who don’t keep a safe distance or who swoop in to do things for their child in times of stress.
  • Encourage your student to resolve issues, rather than stepping in for them.  College is about maturing as much as learning.  By utilizing resources to educate yourself on the supports in place, you can better advise your student if and when they need it.
  • Don’t overreact to the first “I’m unhappy” phone call or email.  Discuss possible difficulties around the transition and help them prepare.  You are there for support… not to make everything go away.
  • Consider talking about big topics in advance.  For students who will be living independently for the first time, they need to be able to responsibly discuss mature topics such as personal wellness, sex, drinking, drugs and other potentially embarrassing and sensitive topics.  Address them before they become a problem.
  • A care package is also an easy way to show support and love, without needing to be there in person.

Tip #5 – Have realistic expectations

  • It is very important that students have realistic expectations about college.  They need to think about the transition, the pressures, the workload, the sacrifices and the common obstacles. Often students are unaware of their progress in a course until mid term marks arrive.
  • Both parents and students need to understand that the grades they received in high school may not be consistent with their marks in college.  College expectations for independent work are much higher than high school and some students go through an adjustment period, learning how to study and manage their time effectively. Setting unachievable goals for marks only add to the pressure of college life. Have an open discussion with your student about what is realistic and focus on effort more than grades.  Students can utilize many resources to help them understand the realities of college life and we encourage them to take advantage of that assistance early.
  • Returning home can also cause conflict.  Have a plan about when the student will be coming home and when you will visit.  Leaving the details all up to chance might bring disappointment.
  • Make home a happy place.  Discuss expectations in advance for visits and holidays.  Students may want to balance time spent with family, friends and alone. Provide them with a quiet place to study, if they need to, and an open ear to discuss their experiences so far.

If you have any questions regarding college life and how you can support your First Gen Student, please contact us.

First Generation Transition workshops are offered for First Gen students coming into a Georgian College program in the fall or winter semesters. The workshops are designed to help students:

  • Discuss college life including processes, challenges & expectations
  • Learn about your personal strengths and how to be successful
  • Explore the campus and learn about resources available and how to  develop a network of support
  • Ask questions and connect with your First Gen Mentor
  • Get a head-start on developing lasting friendships

Contact your Campus First Generation Advisor for more information on transition programs:

Barrie, Orangeville and Midland

Terri Edmonstone

Orillia and Muskoka

Shanna Henderson


Owen Sound and South Georgian Bay

David Clark











What is the Crown Ward Education Championship Team?

Crown Ward Education Championship Teams are funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to create a support system for youth with Crown Wardship status to help with the transition from high school to postsecondary education.

How can we help?

Connect with your Crown Ward Champion. Your CW Champion can provide support and information throughout your college program. Youth with Crown wardship status are First Generation students. Visit the First Generation website for further information on additional supports and the First Generation bursary.

OSAP funding for students with Crowd Ward status

Learn more on the OSAP website.

I want to know more about the Peer Mentor program

Two ladies stand in front of a blackboard, one holding a certificate, one holding a plaque.

Since the program’s inception, peer mentors have supported hundreds of students with their transition to college life, their connection to peers, the college  and the community. The Peer Mentor program  is currently available to all students at the Barrie Campus.

Peer Mentoring at Georgian

If you want to feel better connected to Georgian, the Peer Mentor program can help . Once you are matched with a mentor, you will know that there is someone there to assist you with navigating the campus and its various services. Peer mentors can guide you by providing tips to help you succeed in your new learning community.

  1. Fill out a mentee application (A mentee is a person who is being mentored.)
  2. Once your application is accepted, you will be contacted by email with next steps.

Do you have a passion to get involved and about an hour a week to spare? Consider becoming a peer mentor at Georgian College. Training is provided.

  1. Fill out the mentor application
  2. Once the application is received, you will be contacted by email with information on training and instructions for next steps.

Peer Mentor Hub – Barrie Campus Room K205


Peer Leadership Staff Advisor

Terri Edmonstone 705.728.1968, ext. 1920

Lead Peer Mentors

Shannon Kelly and Monica Castaneda

705.728.1968, ext. 1600

Barrie, Midland and Orangeville:

Terri headshot

705.728.1968, ext. 1920

Owen Sound and South Georgian Bay:

contact David Clark, Owen Sound and South Georgian Bay

519.376.0840, ext. 2316

Orillia and Muskoka:

contatct Shanna Henderson Orillia and Muskoka

Shanna Henderson
705.325.2740. ext. 3070

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