Cardinal First Ambassadors wearing their official T-shirts.

Cardinal First Student Testimonials


Cardinal First Stories

We know Cardinal First is great! But you don't have to take our word for it- we'll let your students tell their stories.


Cardinal First | First-Year Students

Mikel Mays


High School: Naperville Center High School

"Cardinal First has helped me make my first year at North Central worth it and successful; the program goes above and beyond for first-gen students. I could not imagine being where I am today without the help of Cardinal First."
 

Mikel Mays

Nicole Novak


High School: Andrew High School

"The Cardinal First workshops provided a lot of helpful information that I could immediately apply to my life. I would recommend all first-generation students participate in these workshops."

Nicole Novak

Mitrese Smith


High School: Kewanee High School

"The people that created Cardinal First have one mission: to ensure the success of first-gen students and make sure they stay on track."

Mitrese Smith

Jake Zemba


High School: Derry Area High School

"Cardinal First gave me the opportunity to become confident in the transition from high school student to college student. Cardinal First really helped me learn how to manage my time efficiently and effectively."

Jake Zemba

Kimmy Duong


High School: Princeton High School

"Because of the mentorship from other first-generation students and faculty, my transition to college was effortless. This program taught me that I am never along in my academic journey." 

Kimmy Duong

Craig Dent


High School: Wheaton Warrenville South High School

"Cardinal First eliminates the fear and stress of meeting staff and faculty. You also learn so much about the College and develop smart habits that you'll take with you for the rest of your life." 

Craig Dent

Stephanie Garcia


High School: St. Charles East High School

"Being in college can be hard; networking with other students, faculty and staff is key to having a successful college experience and beyond. The Cardinal First program helps you to form important connections from day one on campus."

Stephanie Garcia

Cardinal First | Transfer Students

Fransico Segarra


Transferred from Waubonsee Community College

"Being the first in my family to go to college was stressful, but Cardinal First was there to help me- they provided a planner to keep me on track, time management advice and direction for other College resources."

Francisco Segarra

Christina Penrod


Transferred from a four-year institution

"Cardinal First made my transition between colleges smooth. They kept me on track and pushed me to improve as a student. As a first-gen student, I am proud to be attending North Central College."

Christina Penrod

Merrick Ramza


Transferred from Elgin Community College

"Cardinal First gave me the opportunity to meet people that are going through the same experiences as I am. When you are stressed, Cardinal First gives you a space to breathe, eat a good meal and guidance on how to tackle challenges." 

Merrick Ramza

Vanessa Aguilar


Transferred from Harper Community College

"As a transfer student, the Cardinal First community was so welcoming and helped me feel like I belonged. They encouraged me to get involved and take advantage of all the resources available on campus." 

Vanessa Aguilar

Bashear Diab


Transferred from Triton Community College

"Cardinal First helped me feel welcomed. I was provided with countless resources. I am so happy I got to know the Cardinal First team during my time at North Central, they care for the well-being of all students!"

Bashear Diab

Erik Villanueva


Transferred from Joliet Junior College

"Cardinal First has been a great way to meet new people and make friends. The advice from the different workshops has made the college-to-real-world transition easier. It was a great social setting and helps you step out of your comfort zone." 

Erik Villanueva

Tony Tran


Transferred from College of Dupage

"Starting completely fresh at a new school can be daunting. Cardinal First Transition is an excellent program for students who want to increase their involvement on campus."

Tony Tran

Sadie Jurkovic


Transferred from a four-year institution

"Cardinal First helps you realized that you are not the only first-gen student- which was something I was worried about. I never thought I would find a group of people who were in the same boat and create a family from it."

Sadie Jurkovic

Join Cardinal First!


Embrace being a first-generation college student and join Cardinal First! 

First-Year Student Program Application

Transfer Student Program Application

Cardinal First ambassadors