A freshman (US), fresher (UK) (or sometimes fish, freshie, prep; slang plural freshmeat, frosh, infidels, or pichones) is a first-year student in secondary school, high school, college or university. The term first year can also be used as a noun, to describe the students themselves or others (e.g. They are first years).
Freshman is commonly in use as an US English idiomatic term to describe a beginner or novice, someone who is naive, a first effort, instance, or a student in the first year of study (generally referring to high school or university study).
New members of Congress in their first term are referred to as freshmen senators or freshman congressman, no matter how experienced they were in previous government positions.
High School first year students are almost exclusively referred to as Freshmen, or in some cases by their grade year, 9th graders. Second year students are Sophomores, or 10th graders, then Juniors or 11th graders, and finally Seniors or 12th graders.
At College or University Freshman denotes students in their first year of study. The grade designations of high school are not used, but the terms Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are kept at most schools. Some Women's colleges in the US do not use the term Freshman, but use the perceived gender neutral term: First Year, instead. Some liberal arts colleges do not use the terms Freshman, Sophomore, etc. at all, but rather stick to First Year, Second Year, Third Year, and Fourth Year designations. Beyond the fourth year, students are simply classified as fifth years, sixth years, etc. Some institutions use the term freshman for specific reporting purposes.
In Universities Freshmen generally denotes undergrad students in their first year of study.
Australia and New Zealand
The term 'freshman' is not commonly used in Australia or New Zealand. The term first year is used within Australia and New Zealand universities, primarily to describe students in their first year of tertiary education direct from secondary school. In Australia, Year 7 (eight in some states) is the first year of high school education; in New Zealand, Year Nine is the first year of Secondary Education—in contrast to North America, where the ninth grade or "freshman year" is the first year.
The exception to this general norm is the use of the terms 'fResher', 'fReshman', or simply 'fResh' to describe first year residents at the University of Sydney colleges, namely St Andrews, St Pauls, St Johns, Wesley, Womens' and Sancta Sophia.
In the Portuguese Praxe, referring to all student and academic traditions of Portuguese universities, a major component is the hazing of freshmen (known in Portuguese as Caloiros). There are also many music festivals and a great deal of partying.
There is an actual "Praxe Code" that describes the entire set of traditions, including the Freshman's rights. These include the obligation, of the Freshman to be present in every initiation, having to respect and obey the seniores who are initiating him/her. One of the traditions includes forcing the freshmen to sing university songs and paint their faces and nails with several colors and partake in various games. The tradition requires that hazing be moderate and not endanger anyone. It is also tradition to host friendly dinners for the freshman so they can meet fellow students. It is usually the third year students who "guide" the freshmen, and there´s a symbolic ceremony where the freshmen must choose a "Godmother, Godfather, two Godmothers, two Godfather or both a Godmother and a Godfather" (mentor) from the second and third year students to "guide" them throughout their university years. After the mentor is formally chosen, the freshman can no longer be hazed except with the mentor's permission and he can then after a while be baptized on the "Baptism Ceremony". Second and Third year students wear the traditional university outfit most of the time but it is a must to wear it at freshmen ceremonies. Sophomores are usually not allowed to haze freshmen or to join second or third year students, they are also not permitted to wear the traditional university outfit during their first sophomore semester and until the "Traçar da Capa Ceremony", where their Godfather and/or Godmother "traçam a capa" to them.
United Kingdom (England and Wales)
The term first year is occasionally used in the pre-University and college English education system, and in schools it is no longer in official usage. In England and Wales a student's school career (not including pre-school nursery education) now begins with Reception, usually at the age of four, and continues up to either Year 11 or Year 13 depending on whether the student is going on to further education. However, in informal usage the term "first year" is still very common. Before the introduction of the "Year [number]" in most secondary schools in September 1990, the first year or first form almost always referred to the first year of secondary education. Years 12 and 13 are known as Sixth Form or "lower sixth" and "upper sixth" respectively.
First-year university students are referred to as "freshers".
United Kingdom (Scotland)
At the four ancient Scottish universities the traditional name students for the four years at university Bejant/Bejantine (1st), semi (2nd), Tertian (3rd) and Magistrand (4th), though all Scottish universities will have a "freshers' week" and the term is as widely used with more traditional terms.
In French universities, the first year student is called "Bizuth". They generally go through a period of "Bizutage" upon starting the year.
The first year university students are called "Matricola", while in their high school period they're called "Primino" for boys and "Primina" for girls. Since in some high schools of the Italian system the first year is referred to as "Quarto Ginnasio", freshmen of those schools will be called and call themselves Quartino/Quartina instead.
At German high schools (Gymnasium), students in the initial fifth form (formerly "Sexta" in the old Latin numbering system, which counted backwards) were traditionally called "Sextaner" formerly. At German universities, freshers are called "Erstsemester" (literally: first semester). They are also the target group of fraternities (Studentenverbindungen, Burschenschaften) looking for new members; the small percentage of students who do join one, are then called "Füchse" (literally "foxes", singular "Fuchs" or "Fux") and have to undergo training and a number of tests (usually fencing or drinking duels, depending on the type of fraternity) before they are formally received as full members.
In the Danish secondary education (gymnasium), first year students are called "Putter" (Singular "Put" or "Putte".) This is not an official title, but it's a tradition among students in gymnasium to call the first year students this. It is in some cases used kiddingly or derogatory. The first year students, however, often identify themselves as "Putter". First year of gymnasium is also sometimes called "Putår" (Literally: put year or year of the put)
The first year university student is called "Cachimbo"
The first year of university is called freshman year and only those who studied abroad undergo it. Freshman year is a preparatory year and the students are major-less. Students who have finished high school in Lebanon enter the sophomore year where they study their major.
The first year students who go to university starting their bachelor are called "schachten". They keep this title until the next academic year begins. Some universities may have other names according to their own traditions.
- Random House, Inc. (2006). "freshmen". Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved 12 August 2007.
- Student Admissions Representatives (2010). "Meet Our Student Representatives". New College of florida. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
- Office of the Registrar (2006). "Glossary of Reporting Terms". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
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