Frequently Asked Questions

What is a first generation college student?

A first generation college student is a student whose parents did not graduate from college.

What are some of the differences between first generation and non-first generation college students?

First generation college students are disproportionately minorities. At UNLV, minority students account for over half of the total student population. First generation college students are less likely to be engaged in the academic environment and to live on campus, and are likely to work more hours off campus. They are less likely to engage with faculty and often rank themselves lower in assessments of self-confidence.

Why is there a focus on first generation college students?

First generation college students are more likely to drop out of college after their first year than non-first generation college students. They are also less likely to earn their Bachelor’s degrees nationally, compared to non-first generation students. First generation students often work more, engage less with on-campus extracurricular activities, and have less disposable income for daily living expenses (e.g., books and computers) compared to non-first generation students. UNLV has seen a rise in the attendance of first generation college students.

What are the requirements to become a Trailblazers Mentor?

Mentors must be first generation students with a declared criminal justice major. They must have completed the following courses: CRJ 104, CRJ 130, and CRJ 270. Mentors must have been enrolled at UNLV for at least 2 semesters and maintain an overall 3.0 GPA or higher at least maintained a 3.0 GPA or over the last two full semesters. Mentors must also be approved by a Department of Criminal Justice faculty member. They must be willing to mentor students in the following full semester after completing the Criminal Justice Peer Mentor Training class (CRJ 494X).

What is the process for mentoring students?

First, all peer mentors will register for and complete CRJ 494X (Criminal Justice Peer Mentor Training), which is a 3-credit upper-division CRJ elective course. In the following semester(s), all trained mentors will register for CRJ 495X (Peer Mentoring in Criminal Justice), a 2-credit upper-division CRJ elective, and will work with their mentees using strategies and tools learned in CRJ 494X. Mentors are able to repeat CRJ 495X up to 3 semesters, for a total of 6 credits.


Students interested in gaining professional and leadership skills by participating in the Trailblazers Program should contact faculty members, Dr. Gillian Pinchevsky at or Darwin Morgan at to express interest.