Esmeralda Ramirez is a first generation college student from Winnemucca who is going into her junior year at UNR.
"All of my friends just decided to stay in Winnemucca so it was really hard for me to meet new people and get involved because I was so shy."
She credits the "trio" programs at UNR for helping her stay on course.
"They helped me through every step of the way, now I'm working here. I tutor, so it's a great program."
Nationwide, about 20% of students who are accepted to four-year colleges, don't attend.
"Just because you get accepted, you still need to do advising, you still need to enroll in classes, and students may not understand those steps," says Rita Escher.
At UNR that number is only 5%, mainly due to programs like Upward Bound and the Summer Bridge Program.
"These are federally funded programs that work with students whose parents didn't go to college and are also income qualified."
Incoming freshman, Jerry Martinez had friends who wanted him to hang out instead of going to college.
"Come hang with us. Why are you going to college? It's pointless. There was plenty of people that just went straight into the job force that didn't support people who kind of wanted to go to college and I had that vision. I wanted to be a pioneer, so that's what I wanted to do, so I did it."
Programs like Upward Bound help high school kids with paperwork, class selection and financial aid.
"All the little things like going to orientation, the paperwork, stuff I didn't know much about, but Upward Bound helped me and I was able to just get through all that," says Pablo Miller.
Support that can help first generation students achieve their dreams.
"What I learned from Upward Bound, I share it with my friends and I'm pretty sure they share it with their friends, so it's really branching out to other students," says Wowie Gapuz.
Right now, there are 104 high school students attending a "summer academy" at the University of Nevada. They live on campus for six weeks, attend activities and interact college instructors.
The program is designed to help them get comfortable with UNR, so they'll be sure to show up as freshmen.
Written by Jennifer Burton