Bobcat First

The Bobcat First Program seeks to foster a greater sense of well-being, belonging, and self-empowerment among first generation to college students. Through a pre-orientation program, workshops, co-curricular activities, and alumni events, first-year students will build strong connections with one another, faculty, and staff. For parents, programs are offered to build a community of support.

The Bobcat First Program is based on an opt-in cohort model, where students develop community through social and educational experiences. 


The Bobcat First program includes a week-long pre-orientation program that helps connect first-generation students as they transition into Bates. Participants have the special opportunity to get to know campus before anyone else does. They will experience residential life, workshops on college life, and recreational activities — all while fostering relationships with faculty, staff, and alumni.



B1st2Swim! Is a water-based program designed to support first generation students and other students from communities who have been historically excluded from safe swim environments.  Students are provided with the opportunity to engage with the water and to increase their comfort and ability to swim at a pace unique to each person. 

Through our committed partnership with Bates Aquatics, each student is matched with a swim guide for 1:1 support and cohorts are designed with student swimmer comfort and safety as  priority. Swim cohorts also foster a strong sense of community and ongoing connection in and outside the pool!  Contact us today for more information!

The Cohort

The Bobcat First program is designed as a cohort with approximately 40 first-year students participating.  The research shows that first-generation to college students do best when they find a sense of belonging and community on their campus.  Our cohort model is structured to provide students opportunities to build connections with each other through a pre-orientation program, workshops, and co-curricular activities.


Bobcat First workshops are timed to provide additional support based on the needs of students as they move throughout their first year of college. Some examples of workshops include: time management, study skills, academic requirements, internships, and stress for less.

Co-Curricular Activities

Bobcat First co-curricular programs serve to support first generation to college students through a variety of programs, activities and learning experiences. Co-curricular programs are an important part of building connections within the cohort and the larger Bates community. Some examples of co-curricular activities include a local cohort trip, a first gen faculty dinner, and a welcome back social.

Alumni Events

Starting with the pre-orientation, students are offered opportunities to meet first-gen Bates alumni. These programs expand their connections to the full Bates community, their support network, and allow them time to see and hear from alumni who have encountered and faced the same questions, in the same space. Events include: a pre-orientation panel discussion about how to make the most of the Bates experience, a series of live video panels on topics such as Internships, Social Justice, and a luncheon with panel discussion addressing finding support, how to understand and achieve success, and transitioning to and navigating life beyond Bates.


There are a variety of questions, concerns, and considerations that parents have. We offer programs and events for families to further their understanding of the student experience, the Bates community, and empower families by building a supportive community of faculty, staff, and fellow parents. Events include: panels during pre-orientation about resources and support, and additional opportunities to meet the OIE staff, and talk to fellow families.

Bobcat First Financial Assistance Requests

What expenses will the Bobcat First program cover for first-year students in the program?

  • Transportation to campus for the first-year student in Bobcat First to move-in
  • Transportation to campus and one night of accommodations for one family member to assist the student with move-in
  •  Transportation to campus and one night of accommodations for one family member to attend Back to Bates weekend
  •  Any student seeking need-based emergency funding may do so here

Note: Financial assistance is not provided retroactively. Prior approval is necessary.