Introduction to the First Year Experience Program

The first year of college is an exciting time in your life.  Perhaps for the first time, you have the freedom to make your own decisions, to come and go as you please, or to decide to not finish your homework.   But it is important to understand that responsibility comes with this freedom—you are now accountable for your own choices, actions, and answers.

How will you connect your college education and experiences to your future aspirations?  When will you start?

By participating in a First Year Experience (FYE) learning community, you'll start to build those connections.  FYE is a learning community initiative that helps students develop strategies to maximize academic success, become familiar with campus resources, and cultivate positive relationships with faculty and other students.  In essence, FYE is designed to help you successfully manage your transition to college.

FYE SHADOW

FYE Program Goals

  • To help students develop strategies and attitudes to maximize academic success;
  • To familiarize students with campus resources and how to use them;
  • To assist students in developing positive relationships with faculty, staff, student leaders, and peers.

Consider how your aspirations for college and beyond relate to the FYE program goals.  How can you develop skills that aid in your success?  Should you actively utilize resources that prepare you for what comes next—next week’s test, the second year of college, your first job interview?  What’s the best combination of education and experiences that works for you?

The Freshman Seminar course is designed to address these types of questions (and more!) by delivering developmental content, activities, and guidance to aid your transition to college.  The Freshman Seminar is the UN 100 course (or AD 100 for Art & Design blocks) common to each FYE block, and its content complements the academic courses in the block.  It is a requirement for all FYE blocks, and DOES count towards graduation.  Many students consider it the “core” of the block--the course that ties the semester together.  This is most likely because of the shared learning experience that FYE provides.  You will share most (if not all) of your first semester course schedule with the other students in your Freshman Seminar course.  I enjoy reading the end-of-semester course evaluations and learning about how the students in the FYE cohorts support one another throughout the semester; everything from study groups, to class projects, to simply becoming good friends.  

UN 100:  Freshman Seminar Course Objectives

Academic/Career

You will explore ways of learning, retaining, and relaying lecture and textual material.  You will develop written and oral communication skills, and engage in career exploration and confirmation activities.  You will gain an understanding of academic and career planning.

Students outside of the Art & Design Building.Resources

You will be introduced to and become a user of campus and community resources.

Personal/Social

You will develop connections with their seminar instructor, teaching assistant, peers, and others.  You will develop increased self-awareness and use this knowledge to assist with planning for the future.  You will be introduced to the diverse college environment.

What can you expect from the Freshman Seminar course?  The course is a discussion and activity-based course, and will likely include:

  • In-class and out-of-class group activities;
  • Attendance at campus events;
  • Participation in service learning projects with community agencies;
  • Speakers and presentations on diversity awareness and appreciation;
  • Communication skills and etiquette workshops;
  • Active discussions on:
    • Healthy lifestyle choices;
    • Student technology usage and etiquette;
    • Academic support services;
    • Academic and career planning;
    • Learning skills;
    • Campus involvement opportunities.

Each Freshman Seminar class is led by an instructor and a teaching assistant.  The instructor is usually a faculty member or a professional from the area related to the block.  The teaching assistant is a current student at NMU, usually a junior or senior.  They collaborate on the design of the class, combining faculty expertise and current-student perspective to deliver a balanced approach that meets the needs of first-semester students.

The Freshman Seminar course is important to your success at NMU.  In fact, 85% of students who participated in FYE last year maintained good academic standing their first semester, and nearly 92% of FYE students returned to NMU the following semester.  Over 87% of FYE students agreed that taking part in FYE positively contributed to their overall college experience.  Simply stated--FYE works.  I believe it works not only because it provides you with the practical tools to be successful at NMU, but because it sets the stage for how you will connect with your peers, professors, and the broader campus community.  

It’s your connection.  You decide how it matters.

Bill Richards
Bill Richards
Coordinator, First Year Programs