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Freshman class artwork, from East Texas State Normal College's 1920 Locust yearbook

A freshman, first year, or frosh, is a person in the first year at an educational institution, usually a secondary or post-secondary school.

Arab world[edit]

In much of the Arab world, a first-year is called a "Ebtidae" (Pl. Mubtadeen), which is Arabic for "beginner".[1]


In Brazil, students that pass the vestibulares and begin studying in a college or university are called "calouros" or more informally "bixos" ("bixetes" for girls), an alternate spelling of "bicho", which means "bug". Calouros are often subject to hazing, which is known as "trote" (lit. "prank") there. The first known hazing episode in Brazil happened in 1831 at the Law School of Olinda and resulted in the death of a student.[2] In 1999, a Chinese Brazilian calouro of the University of São Paulo Medicine School named Edison Tsung Chi Hsueh was found dead at the institution's swimming pool; this has since become one of the most well known episodes of violent hazing and has received extensive national media coverage since that year.[2][3][4][5]


In Germany, a first-semester student of a university programme (Bachelor, Master, State exam etc) is called Erstsemester, or in short and more common, Ersti, with "erst" meaning first and the -i adding a benevolently diminutive tone. The plural is Erstis.

It's worth noting that unlike the word freshman, which stands for a student in their whole first year, the German word Ersti is exclusively used for students in their first semester. Sometimes though, students in higher semesters or even graduates are teasingly called Erstis just for fun.

United Kingdom[edit]

England and Wales[edit]

Students in their first year of university are often known in England and Wales as freshers; however, first years is more common. The first week of term is widely known as freshers' week where there are usually no classes and students take part in induction events and fairs.[6][7][8][9][10]

Unlike in Scotland, this term is not used in reference to pre-university education, the equivalent terms being Year sevens for the first year of secondary school and first years, lower sixers and Year Twelves used at sixth forms.[11][12][13][14]


First year (also known as S1 in Scotland) is the first year of schooling in secondary schools in Scotland and is roughly equivalent to Year 8 (Second Form) in England and Wales and Year 9 (Second Form) in Northern Ireland. Most pupils are 12 or 13 years old at the end of S1.

Preceded by First year
Succeeded by

The first year of primary education in Scotland is known as Primary 1 (P1).

At the four ancient Scottish universities the traditional names for the four years at university are Bejan ("Bejant" at the University of St Andrews) (1st),[15] Semi (2nd), Tertian (3rd) and Magistrand (4th), though all Scottish universities will have a "freshers' week" (as with all British universities) and the term is as widely used with more traditional terms.[16]

United States[edit]

Freshman is commonly in use as a 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).[17]

New members of Congress in their first term are referred to as freshmen senators or freshmen congressmen or congresswomen, 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 sophomore, junior, and senior are kept at most schools. Some colleges, including historically women's colleges, do not use the term freshman but use first year, instead.[18][19] Beyond the fourth year, students are simply classified as fifth year, sixth year, etc. Some institutions use the term freshman for specific reporting purposes.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^السنافر-يواجهون-مواقف-مضحكة-في-أول-سنة-جامعة
  2. ^ a b Nadai, Mariana. "Quais foram os trotes mais cruéis do Brasil?". Mundo Estranho (in Portuguese). Grupo Abril. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  3. ^ Toledo, Roberto Pompeu de (30 April 1999). "Tolerância zero, o remédio para o trote". Veja (in Portuguese). Grupo Abril. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Calouro morre afogado em trote na USP". Terra (in Portuguese). Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  5. ^ Oliveira, Mariana (6 June 2013). "STF mantém absolvição de 4 pela morte de calouro da USP em 1999". G1 (in Portuguese). Brasília: Grupo Globo. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  6. ^ "Freshers". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  7. ^ Reidy, Tess (12 November 2019). "How to make your first year at uni count – even if your grades don't". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Freshers' Week clichés (and how not to be one)". BBC Bitesize. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Making the most of freshers' week". Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  10. ^ "22 things graduates wish they had known as freshers". Save the Student. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  11. ^ Birch, Luke (3 June 2018). "TYPES OF YEAR 7s IN BRITISH SECONDARY SCHOOL". Archived from the original on 5 July 2020 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ Ferguson, Donna (27 August 2019). "'No one will try to terrify you': year 8 advice to year 7s". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  13. ^ "The best (and worst) tips for year sevens starting secondary school". The Independent. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  14. ^ "First year sixth form students could return to college on 1 June". FE Week. 11 May 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  15. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bejan" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 659.
  16. ^ Grant, Alexander, Sir (1884). The story of the University of Edinburgh during its first three hundred years (Vol. 2). London: Longmans, Green, and co. p. 479. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  17. ^ Random House, Inc. (2006). "freshman". Retrieved 12 August 2007.
  18. ^ Huffpost College (2012). "UNC Drops 'Freshman' From School Vocabulary In Favor Of 'First-Year,' Media Controversy Ensues". HuffPost. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  19. ^ Student Admissions Representatives (2010). "Meet Our Student Representatives". New College of Florida. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  20. ^ Office of the Registrar (2006). "Glossary of Reporting Terms". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2007.

External links[edit]