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First Generation Students

We celebrate ALL our first generation students!

Hear from some of our first-generation students and their families
I'm First

LMU is Featured in 2023 I'm First! Guide to College


This unique college guidebook is designed to help students who will be among the first in their families to go to college make their college dreams a reality. The Guide profiles 164 colleges and universities - including Lincoln Memorial University - that are committed to helping "first-gen" students thrive in college. LMU is featured on page 318!

The Guide also features inspiring stories and advice from first-generation college students and other experts, an interactive college planning and preparation curriculum for students, teachers, and counselors, and valuable information for parents and mentors, including a Spanish-language section.

LMU's feature profile can be found on page 318.

Learn More About I'm First

As part of LMU's mission and heritage, we serve a number of students who are the first person in their family to go to college! If that is you-Congratulations on beginning a new journey and being a trailblazer! There is something special about being FIRST in something. Being one of the first in your family to attend and graduate from college is special too!

In this new journey, you may find that you, and your support system, have some questions that are unique to your situation. In the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, we make sure that our team is available to help you and your supporters transition to you being a college student. Below are some of the frequently asked questions that we receive, as well as a quick Road Map to success to help you navigate your educational journey at LMU. Please do not hesitate to reach out and ask ANY questions you may have!

First Generation Road map

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if I am a first-generation college student?

A: A first-generation student is defined as:

An individual whose natural or adoptive parents did not receive a bachelor's degree;
An individual who, prior to the age of 18, regularly resided with and received support from only one parent and whose supporting parent did not receive a bachelor's degree; or
An individual who, prior to the age of 18, did not regularly reside with or receive support from a natural or an adoptive parent.

Q: No one in my family has ever graduated from college. Will this hurt my chances of admission?

A: Absolutely not! Your admission to the University is based on your high school GPA and your ACT or SAT scores (see below for more info on test scores).

Q: What should I do if I can't take the ACT/SAT due to COVID-19?

A: Don't worry! To accommodate prospective students because of recent SAT and ACT test administration cancellations and the ongoing Covid-19 situation, LMU is considering students for admission from a test-optional perspective through Fall 2023 admission.

Q: I don't think I can afford to go to LMU. How do people pay for college?

A: There is a difference between the listed "sticker price" of tuition, and what students actually pay. This is due to the fact that almost every student who enrolls at LMU receives some institutional financial aid, in addition to all the federal & state financial aid options. Also, we have a great Financial Aid Office that works really hard to help students find the best possible financial aid package!

Q: I don't know what I want to major in. Should I wait to come to college until I have decided on a career/major?

A: No! Typically, students have until their junior year to declare a major. You can begin your educational journey with an undecided major. If career choices are what you need help with, we have an excellent Office of Career Services that can help you process what some of your options might be.


Key Terms for Higher Education

Curious about the college lingo? Read on!
We know that every institution has its own terminology, and that can sometimes be confusing. We've tried to gather some of these terms offer definitions below. We hope this helps everyone navigate the University system better! If you cannot find the term/phrase you're looking for, please reach out to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  •   People/Positions:

    Board of Trustees: The decision-making body that oversees the University. Typically, the Board is involved in setting policies and establishing budgets and delegates the day-to-day running of the institution to the President, and to academic and administrative officers.

    Bursar: The University official/ the office where bills and fees are paid. LMU's Bursar is located on the first floor of DAR Hall. 

    Commuter Student: A student who does not reside on campus, but rather commutes to and from campus.

    Dean: A Dean is the head of one of the major academic units of the University. For example, the Dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences, or the Dean of the School of Business. 

    Dean of Students: An administrator who is tasked with overseeing student life and the non-academic student experience at LMU. Our Dean of Students office is located on the 2nd floor of DAR Hall.

    Full-Time Student: A student who is taking a full academic load. For undergraduate students, this is 12 hours or more of credit. 

    Registrar's Office: The University office responsible for coordinating class registration and for maintaining educational records at the University. This is the Office that collects intent to graduate forms, change of major forms, change of schedule forms, performs degree audits and transfer credit evaluations, and is the office that handles requests for transcripts.

    Resident Assistant (RA): An upper-class student living on an assigned floor in a residence hall who can provide guidance, supervision, and programming to and for residents.

    Residential Student: A student who lives on campus in campus housing.

    Student Conduct: The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards promotes and enforces policies to support integrity, civility, and a safe environment for the purpose of providing a safe Railsplitter community to support every student’s education.

    Transfer Student: A student who has attended and earned academic credit (post-high school graduation), and then enrolls at LMU. 

  •   Financial:

    Cost of Attendance: The estimated cost for attending LMU for a year. The cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, books, supplies, room and board, transportation, and an estimate of other personal costs.

    Direct Subsidized Loan: Loan given by the government that pays for interest that is accrued while the student is enrolled in college.

    Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Loan given by the government that accrues interest as soon as the money is dispersed to be used.

    Expected Family Contribution (EFC): An estimate calculated on a student's FAFSA of the amount the family should pay toward a student’s cost of attendance.

    Financial aid/financial aid package: Financial aid may include grants, loans, scholarships,  work-study, or a combination of any of these. LMU's Student Financial Services Office will “bundle” a student’s financial aid into a package to show how much aid they qualify for and how much the student and family will need to contribute.

    Financial need: The total amount of money the University determines that your student requires in financial assistance. That amount is further broken down to reflect scholarships, grants, loans, and student jobs.

    FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid: A form distributed by the U.S. Department of Education to collect information used to determine a student’s need for federal financial aid. For more information, click here.

    Grant: Financial aid that does not have to be repaid.

    PLUS loans: Federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for their student’s college or career school.   

    Student fees: Funds that students pay in addition to tuition and enrollment costs. At LMU, the student fees support student organizations, student activities (including athletics or sports clubs), health services, parking, or to pay for extra course expenses such as laboratory equipment, technology/printing, or other costs associated with a class/program.

    Work-study: Student jobs funded through the U.S. government’s Federal Work-Study Program that allow students to work on campus in order to help pay their college expenses. Work-study is packaged into a student’s financial aid award and usually specifies the number of hours a student may work during the semester or the year in a work-study position. A work-study position must be qualified for via the Office of Student Financial Services.

  •   Academics:

    Academic Advisor: A member of the faculty in the student's chosen major who provides academic advice to students and guides them through the requirements for graduation.

    Academic Catalog: The official University guide to all academic policies, procedures, curricula, degree requirements, and more. It is essential that students take time to read through the academic catalog assigned to the year they first enrolled at LMU. Click here to view the catalogs.

    Adjunct Faculty: Faculty members who are hired to teach one or more classes, and are not full-time faculty of the University; often these are part-time instructors or academically qualified staff.

    Articulation Agreement: A formal set of policies that layout transfer procedures between LMU and another institution; may also be called a transfer partnership agreement.

    Associate Degree: A college degree that requires less than four years of full-time college study; it usually takes two years to earn an associate degree.

    Auditing: Registering for a course in order to attend classes without receiving credit or grades.Denotes official audit of course; no credit awarded nor grade assigned. 

    Bachelor’s Degree: Also called a baccalaureate degree, this degree is awarded for the equivalent of four years of academic work at the University and the completion of the degree requirements as outlined in the appropriate academic catalog. 

    Commencement: Graduation ceremony when students complete their degree.

    Credit or Credit Hour: University courses are generally described in terms of the number of hours of instruction per week. Students qualify to graduate by earning a specified number of credits; colleges and universities define the required number of overall credits as well as the number of credits in a major or minor and in required areas of study.

    Dean’s List: A list of high-achieving students who have earned a specified overall grade-point average during a term. 

    Doctorate Degree: The highest level of academic achievement, usually at the culmination of attending a professional school/program. Currently, doctoral degrees can be achieved in many subject areas at LMU: business, education,  nursing, osteopathic medicine, law, occupational and physical therapy, and veterinary medicine with more on the horizon!

    Double Major: Students can elect to fulfill the requirements of two majors simultaneously.

    Elective: A course that a student may choose to take, but which is not among the courses required for the student’s major.

    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): A federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records. At the college level, this law stipulates that responsibility for student records transfers to students. As a result, students must give parents permission to view their records. Click here for more information.

    General Education: A basic foundation of courses or types of courses to prepare students for personal, academic, and career success. These courses are typically completed within the first two years of college.

    Grade Point Average (GPA): The numerical average of a student’s grades for the semester or for the entire college record. See the academic catalog for more information. 

    Homecoming: An annual campus celebration bringing together alumni, current students, and the community for such a wide range of events. Usually in October.

    Incomplete: A grade registered on the student’s transcript indicating the student has not met all the requirements of the course. An incomplete is considered a temporary grade; if the class is not completed within a specified time, the grade will become an F. 

    Independent Study: A course designed under the direction of a faculty member, usually providing more specific investigation of a topic than is offered in a traditional college course.

    Internship: A work opportunity allowing students to practice professional skills in a supervised setting. Internships may be offered with or without pay and with or without college credit.

    Major: An academic area that a student chooses as a primary field of study. A certain number of credits are required to be earned within the major in order to graduate.

    Master’s Degree: A degree requiring the equivalent of additional years of study after the bachelor’s or undergraduate degree. In a master’s program, students focus at a higher level on a specific field of study.

    Mid-Term Exam: An examination taken about halfway through the term.

    Minor: An academic area that a student may choose to take several classes in. It does not require as many credit hours as a major but allows a student to put some emphasis on an area outside the major.

    Office Hours: Times when professors are in their office to answer questions and talk with students about a class, problem, or idea they would like to discuss.  Each professor is required to schedule office hours at least once a week. Office hours give students the perfect opportunity to get to know the instructors teaching their classes and to explore ways to succeed in the class.

    Prerequisite: A course or a requirement that must be completed before a student is allowed to register for a more advanced course or to qualify for a program or major.

    Probation: A designation indicating that a student’s academic work is not satisfactory. A set of conditions is imposed for students to improve performance by a designated time. For specifics, read the academic catalog.

    Registration: The process of selecting and enrolling in courses. This occurs electronically after students meet with their advisor.

    Rolling Admission: The process of reviewing and making decisions on admission applications as they arrive rather than enforcing application deadlines after which no further decisions will be made.

    Semester: The academic calendar is broken into terms of study. LMU is on a semester system, with two semesters making up a year of study. Additionally, select courses are also offered during a summer term. 

    Study Abroad: A program where students earn college credit while studying in another country. Programs may be a few weeks, over the summer, a full semester, or an entire year.

    Syllabus: An outline and description of a course, usually handed out on the first day of class (and posted on Blackboard). The syllabus provides contact information for the instructor and office hours. It also describes the instructor’s expectations for the course and gives an overview of topics that will be covered, required and recommended readings, grading policies, and a schedule of tests and due dates for papers or projects.

    Transcript: A list of courses the student has taken, including the grade earned for each course, and the number of credits earned. The transcript is the formal record of a student’s education and upon graduation, it will reflect the successful completion of a degree from the institution.

    Withdrawal: An official process for dropping out of a class or leaving the institution without completing requirements.

    Welcome Weekend: An introduction to college life. Orientation programs are common for new students (both first-time freshmen and transfers). The programs generally address academic, social, and emotional aspects of starting college at LMU, and students typically form lasting relationships at Welcome Weekend.