Many first generation students enter college with lots of questions about everything from financial aid to academic help. That is expected, and it is perfectly normal. Rice has a broad range of departments that are prepared to address any variety of questions that students and parents/guardians may have. For access to some of the most commonly needed information, see the Student Success Resources for more information on resources for all Rice students.

The purpose of this webpage is to provide helpful information to first generation Rice students and their families, including relevant links and advice in order to facilitate a supportive transition from high school into the college world.

Financial Information:

Rice’s financial aid website is a comprehensive compilation of financial information that includes tips related to applying for aid, receiving loans, paying your bill, student employment, and financial aid deadlines. Their office can be reached at (713) 348-4958 or at

  • FAFSA, CSS profile
  • How to pay online bill
  • Saving money
    • College life can be expensive, but there are lots of ways to save money while you’re here. Often times buying used textbooks is a great way to save – each college has a book sale at the beginning of every semester where students can buy and sell their old textbooks. Some books may even be available for check-out at Fondren library. Students who live on campus are required to have a full meal plan, so the only time they are responsible for meals is on Saturday nights. Ordering in and splitting with a friend or two can save over going out every weekend, and there are lots of grocery stores nearby if you want to keep a supply of snacks or easy meals on hand.

Off-Campus Housing:

Rice has a website dedicated to finding off campus housing near Rice. You can choose your price range, type of home (house, apartment, duplex, etc.), and distance to narrow your search.

Course load:

The average course load for Rice students is usually between 14 and 16 credit hours a semester. The minimum requirement for full-time students is 12 hours, and the maximum is 18 hours. It is possible to petition to take over 18 hours; however, that is reserved for extenuating circumstances. Many students during their first semester choose to take a lighter course load and focus on becoming familiar with life at Rice, and that is completely fine! It is important to feel acclimated, and while you should be challenged during your time here, it is also a good idea not to overload yourself. Rice offers a wealth of academic resources, from Peer Academic Advisors and Academic Fellows to review sessions and office hours with professors – take advantage of these opportunities! Never be afraid to reach out for help. Chances are, even if you don’t know where to get the help you need, someone will be able to point you in the right direction.

AP credit:

Some students will come into their first semester at Rice having accumulated 10, 20, even 30+ hours of AP credit. This credit can be helpful as far as opting out of intro level courses; however, it is NOT necessary to a successful academic career to come in with any AP credit. It is entirely possible to graduate on time without any previous credit. Though it may be daunting to hear about a student who comes in with 36 credit hours, know that you are not behind in the least with less or none at all; many other students are in your exact same position.

Joining Clubs/Organizations:

Rice is known for its passionate and engaging students and general community. Not surprisingly, there are a multitude of clubs active around campus for student participation; these include everything from academic to political to sports clubs! Clubs are a great way to meet people outside of your own college and become involved in something you enjoy outside of class. It is important not to overload yourself, and some students will opt not to join clubs straight away, but others find clubs a useful outlet for their extracurricular interests. It is all about finding a balance that works for you.

First Generation/Low Income Fondren Library Resources and Support:

Fondren Library resources to help with your research needs, personal success and learning at Rice University