How to find academic support and develop skills

Merilyn Buchanan

Merilyn Buchanan reflects on her first months at UCLA as an international PhD student — with everyone assuming she knew what things like a transcript and a course schedule are, and how and where to buy textbooks. University systems work differently around the world!


A perspective on being a FirstGen international student (click to play)

Dr. Merilyn Buchanan, Interim Dean, School of Education













Follow these links to locate academic services at CI. Be your own advocate — find the academic support you need.






  • Develop strong writing skills
    • Student Writing Guide
    • Writing and Mutiliteracy Center
      • The Writing & Multiliteracy Center provides students with support for developing strong academic writing and communication skills, as well as developing strong study and metacognitive skills. Students learn best practices in planning, creatively engaging with, and working on various assignments involving communication skills like expository essays, oral presentations, research posters, and capstone videos.
    • Graduate Writing Studio


  • Student Support Services (SSS): This program serves first-gen students who are already attending CI. Unlike EOP, you can apply to be in SSS as a continuing student.


  • Be your own best advocate
    • Find a mentor
    • Visit professors’ office hours
    • Participate actively in classes
    • Network with professors and peers