Media Highlights

The Center for Student Opportunity joins the National Opportunity coalition

by Matt Rubinoff   •  

There is something special about being the first. The first in flight, first man on the moon, first African-American president. First kisses, first impressions, first place. Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) recognizes that being the first in your family to attend and graduate from college is special, too.

First-generation college students face barriers that lead many of them to give up on college dreams or choose institutions that aren’t conducive to degree completion. We know that first-gens are motivated and qualified, but too often lack access to good information and support in their pursuit of college. That’s where we come in.

Since 2005, CSO, a Maryland-based nonprofit, has worked with high schools and youth-serving organizations, as well as four-year colleges and universities nationwide, to promote and strengthen college opportunities for first-gens.

CSO-Stat-WebThe Center for Student Opportunity is proud to join Opportunity Nation’s diverse Coalition, and is excited to share our experience and model with a wider network, as well as learn from other coalition members about effective ways to expand upward mobility and help more youth attain the postsecondary skills and credentials they need to thrive. 

We know that expanding access to and completing higher education is key to restoring the American Dream for the rising generation.

Visit, where you will find an online community that offers students and advisors the tools to research and connect with colleges that are committed to serving first-gens. Join us for Google Hangouts and Twitter Chats and find advice and inspiration from a student blog and “I’m First” stories—YouTube videos created by first-gen students and graduates (First Lady Michelle Obama among them!).

We also annually publish the I’m First! Guide to College, a unique college guidebook designed to help aspiring first-gens plan for college, and award I’m First! Scholarships to high school seniors matriculating to one of our College Partner institutions. What’s unique about the scholarship is that recipients chronicle their journeys on the blog, mentoring and inspiring future first-gens across the country.

Please contact Chelsea Jones, Associate Director for Student Programs, to learn more.

Matt Rubinoff

Matt Rubinoff is founder and Executive Director of Center for Student Opportunity (CSO), a national nonprofit empowering first-generation college students on the path to and through college. CSO is based in Bethesda, Maryland but its programs reach students, schools and youth-serving organizations across the U.S. CSO joined the Opportunity Nation coalition in 2014.

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