Connect with other first-generation college students for a source of continued support in navigating college life.

Launched in 2010, The Trailblazers Program provides ongoing, essential support to help first-generation undergraduate students reap the benefits of college life, earn their degrees, and make their way into the world as Notre Dame graduates. 

The voluntary program has a community of over 200 participants and includes a number of outreach, personal development and academic enrichment opportunities.

Program Benefits


A full-time Director serves as a counselor and mentor for the Trailblazers, providing one-on-one guidance and assistance.

Campus Services

Introductions to the Counseling Center, Writing Center, and Career & Student Success Center help first-year Trailblazers get connected early on to the tutoring and personal support services available on campus.  


The workshops offered are designed to support Trailblazers at each phase of their educational experience—from adjusting to college life, to preparing for graduation.

Possible topics include:

  • Majors & Careers
  • Internships
  • Resume Writing
  • Networking
  • Financial Planning
  • Student Loan Repayment
  • FAFSA Completion
  • Understanding Your Financial Aid Package
  • Strategies for Academic Success
  • College Writing 101
  • Wellness & Stress Management
  • Time Management

Added Benefits

Premier internships, research opportunities, and study tours in the United States and abroad are available to all Trailblazers.

How to Apply

Online Application

Paper applications are also available at summer registration days and fall orientation.

Contact Us



External funding for the Trailblazers Program has been provided by grants from the Walmart College Success Awards Program through the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Walmart Foundation, the state of Maryland and the Booth Ferris Foundation of JP Morgan Chase..

I'm First

The Notre Dame of Maryland University Trailblazers Program has launched a new initiative called I’m First. If you see the I’m First logo, that means the person in that office or wearing the button is a First Generation College student.  

The program will allow first generation faculty and staff to connect with Trailblazer Scholars. I’m First staff and faculty will provide an additional layer of support and encouragement to both our existing and incoming Trailblazers. If you see this logo, they're first too!