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First Year Experiences

This list represents a compilation of the rich array of first-year programs that research universities offer incoming students. They range from pre-matriculation orientations to courses and enrichment opportunities that span the entire academic year.

General Information

National Resource Center for The First-Year Year Experience and Students in Transition, University of South Carolina. Publisher, Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.

Past Conferences:

An Archive of past conference summaries on First-Year Experiences from the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition:

18th International Conference on the First-Year Experience
July 11-14, 2005, Southampton, England, United Kingdom

Summer Institute on First-Year Assessment: Aspring to Excellence
July 24-26, 2005, Asheville, NC
Co-sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College

24th Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience
February 4-8, 2005, Phoenix, AZ

International Conference on the First-Year Experience
June 14-17, 2004, Maui, Hawaii

Summer Institute on First-Year Assessment: Discerning Quality in the First Year of College
July 18-20, 2004, Asheville, NC
Sponsored by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition
Co-sponsored by the Policy Center on the First Year of College

Policy Center on the First Year of College
2002 National Survey Findings Now Available

Your First College Year National Survey, Higher Education Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles

Campus Programs

Academic Seminars

Arizona State University, First-Year Seminars

Case Western Reserve University, First-Year Seminar

Duke University, Interdisciplinary First-Year Seminars

Harvard University, Freshman Seminars and House Seminars

Howard University, General Education requirements, including a Freshman Seminar

Indiana University Bloomington, Intensive Freshman Seminar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Independent Activities Period

Northwestern University, College of Arts and Sciences, Freshman Seminars

Penn State University, First-Year Seminar Program in the Liberal Arts

Princeton University, Freshman Seminars in the Residential Colleges

Stanford University, Stanford Introductory Seminars

Syracuse University, Freshman Forum sample syllabus
Freshman Honors Seminar

Tufts University, First-Year Seminars: Explorations and Perspectives

UC Berkeley, Freshman Seminars

UC Davis, Freshman Seminars

UC Riverside, Freshman Seminar Discovery Program

UC Santa Cruz, Freshman Discovery Seminars

University of Hawaii, Freshman Seminars

University of Illinois, First-Year Discovery

University of Michigan, First Year Seminars

University of Minnesota, Freshman Seminars

University of North Carolina, First-Year Seminar Program

University of Oklahoma, Freshman Seminars

University of Oregon, Freshman Seminars

University of Texas at Austin, Freshman Seminars and Forum Seminars

University of Washington, Freshman Seminars

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Freshman Scholar Seminars

Course Enhancement

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Edgerton Center

University of Colorado - Boulder, Introductory Astronomy

University of Delaware, Problem-Based Learning

University of Notre Dame, College of Engineering First-Year Courses

First-Year Interest Groups

Brigham Young University, Freshman Academy

Indiana University Bloomington, Freshman Interest Groups

University of California, Santa Cruz, Oakes Colleges, Values and Change in Diverse Society: A core first-year course that examines historical and contemporary aspects of multiculturalism in the United States, including issues of inequity in the areas of race, class, and gender.

University of Houston, The Scholars' Community

University of Missouri, Freshman Interest Groups

University of Oregon, Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs)

University of Washington, Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs)

General Education

Boston University, College of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum
College of General Studies Core Curriculum

Bowling Green State University, Springboard Program: A one-credit hour course aimed at assessment and development of skills in oral and written communication, analysis, problem solving, judgment, leadership, and self-assurance.

New York University, Morse Academic Plan

Penn State University, First-Year Seminars

SUNY at Albany, Project Renaissance

UCLA, First-Year Cluster Courses


University of Notre Dame, First Year of Studies

University of Utah, Liberal Education Accelerated Program (LEAP)

Learning Communities

Arizona State University, Freshman Year Experience

Georgia Institute of Technology, The Freshman Experience

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Experimental Study Group:

Ohio University, The Freshman Experience

University of Delaware, Learning Integrated Freshman Experience (LIFE)

University of Miami, Honors Program, Learning Communities & Freshman Seminars

Targeted Learning Communities

Origins of ORDER” (On Recent Discoveries by Emory Researchers): A Freshman Seminar at Emory University in which students learn about cutting edge scientific research going on in laboratories at the university:;;

Stony Brook University, Women in Science and Engineering
WISE courses:
WISE 187, Introduction to Research
USB 101 for WISE students, Introduction to a Research University

University of Maryland
Civicus, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Honors Humanities Living/ Learning Program:
College Park Scholars:

University of Massachusetts, Honors College Learning Communities

University of Michigan, UROP in Residence
First Year Seminars: Includes courses in the Arts

University of Minnesota, Honors Colloquia

University of Texas at Austin, Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (formerly PENS)


Emory University, Freshman Advising and Mentoring (FAME)

University of Connecticut, First-Year Experience

University of Nebraska at Lincoln, University Foundations

University of North Carolina, The Carolina Summer Reading Program

University of Oklahoma, Gateway to College Learning

University of South Carolina, University 101

University of Texas, Arlington, Year One at UTA

Books and Articles

Chaplin, Susan B. "Introducing Freshmen to Investigative Research - A Course for Biology Majors at Minnesota's University of St. Thomas." Journal of College Science Teaching (27) 5, March-April 1998, 347-350.

Ethier, Marc. "First Reading Assignments for Freshmen Aim to Promote Tolerance and Critical Thinking." The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 1997, A41.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology report “Freshman Pass/No record Grading and Advanced Placement Policy”; The student response:

Tinto, Vincent and Anne Goodsell. "Freshman Interest Groups and the First-Year Experience." Journal of the Freshman Year Experience 6 (1), 1993, 7-28.

Exemplary Programs and Practices

he BGeXperience, Bowling Green State University: An academic program designed to help first year students make a successful transition to college. Students develop relationships with the BGSU community and skills necessary for academic success.

Discovery Seminar Program, University of Kentucky: First year students take small classes with outstanding professors who engage the students in challenging discussions.

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