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FirstGen Presidential Fellows

Committed to Leadership Development for First-Generation Students

FirstGen Presidential Fellows is a prestigious leadership-development program for incoming first-generation students. Throughout their undergraduate education, fellows engage in an array of offerings to develop academically, professionally and personally, including: a cohort experience that builds bonds with other students; a mentorship program with first-generation Bentley alumni; and custom workshops about how to navigate college, create community, and design a successful and meaningful life. A distinguishing feature of the program is the signature work project, through which students work closely with a faculty mentor to explore the question: how can individuals and organizations be a force for positive change in the world? Through these unique experiences, graduates of this program leave Bentley with greater self-awareness and advanced abilities to collaborate, communicate and problem-solve.

The financial aid package for FirstGen Presidential Fellows covers the full estimated cost of attendance. This includes tuition and fees, standard room and board costs and an allowance for books, supplies and personal expenses for four years toward their undergraduate degree, or as long as they continue to participate in the program. The 2021-2022 package amounts to $76,305. For more financial aid information, please visit our website.

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key features

FirstGen Presidential Fellows leave Bentley prepared to lead business organizations in helping to solve community-based problems. The offerings through this program have a particular focus on developing leadership skills, especially self-awareness, problem-solving, communication and collaboration. Participants have the opportunity to combine their academic acumen and leadership skills, collaborating with others to create impactful change with the communities that matter most to them.  

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A Signature Work Project Focused on Problem-Solving, Collaboration and Communication

Through a signature work project that includes academic research, an applied learning experience and faculty mentorship, FirstGen Presidential Fellows explore how business and non-profit organizations address social, economic, and environmental problems. This project prepares fellows to lead organizations committed to improving their local communities and the world.

Personal Development Through Self-Awareness

Fellows participate in regular workshops and coaching sessions designed to help them discover their core values, harness their strengths and talents, build community on and off campus, and design a fulfilling life and career path.

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Meaningful Connections

Fellows learn and grow with a cohort of 15 to 20 first-generation student-leaders. From the pre-arrival program to graduation, FirstGen Presidential Fellows participate in high-impact experiences that drive life-long friendships. In addition to bonding with peers in the program, fellows are also placed into small groups with first-generation Bentley alumni who mentor them throughout their undergraduate education.

Hands-On Leadership Development

In their final years of the program, FirstGen Presidential Fellows take on leadership roles within the program itself. Fellows work with others in their cohort to organize and facilitate key program features for younger cohorts, including: the pre-arrival program; custom workshops and lectures with invited guests; themed panels with Bentley faculty, staff, students and alumni; and the mentorship program. This hands-on leadership experience prepares fellows to lead organizations in their lives beyond Bentley. 

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donna maria blancero
As a first-generation student myself, I am aware of the challenges students may face when starting their college journey. The FirstGen Presidential Fellows will stand among the most accomplished, thoughtful and visible student-leaders on campus.
Donna Maria Blancero
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

FirstGen Fellow Qualifications

There is no formal application process for this program. All first-year, first-generation applicants are automatically considered. During application review, the admission committee looks for students who identify as first-generation students who have demonstrated leadership potential and also have high financial need. Please note that only students studying in the United States who are not international nor transfer applicants are considered. Bentley defines "first generation" as students whose parents or guardians have not attained a bachelor's degree in or outside the U.S. This definition aligns with that of the United States Department of Education and the Common Application and reflects the identify of first-generation college students at Bentley. If you have any questions about the FirstGen Presidential Fellows, please contact Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Jane De Leon Griffin, by calling +1(781)-891-3187 or emailing jgriffin@bentley.edu