The First Year Experience Program
The First Year Experience (also known as the Freshman Year Experience or the Freshman Seminar Program) is a program that is instituted at many American colleges and universities which is designed to help students prepare for the transition from high school to college. Depending on the school, the course could last anywhere from two weeks to one full school year. Some larger universities go as far as to reserve sections of dorm rooms as well as the university itself and creates a "small college" feel in a large university setting by allowing all freshmen to do their first-year courses in one section of the university such as the "Project Renaissance Program" at the University at Albany, SUNY.[dead link]
History and breakdown of program
While the origins of the program remains unclear, many people attribute the start of the First Year Seminar to the University of South Carolina, which to this day houses a research center and holds several different workshops for colleges to better their own first year programs at their colleges and universities.
Breakdown of most first year programs
Many of the colleges and universities that have the program require that all students who are incoming freshman take freshman seminar as a requirement; other schools have the program as optional, yet recommended. Most first year seminars are a semester long and start at college orientation. From orientation, students enroll in the course, which gives them a variety of college experiences, from tours of the campus to a breakdown of how to study for tests. Many schools even take their students to help them purchase books from the school's bookstore.
Credits for taking first year program
As a standard for most first year seminars, many colleges will give students one to two credits for completing the program, such as UC Irvine. Many schools, such as the State University of New York at Old Westbury in Old Westbury, New York, merge the program into a second course which helps to satisfy New York's general education requirement. In addition, the school recently introduced its Civic Engagement program, which is designed to allow students to participate in community service as a part of its first-year experience program.
Workshops and training
The University of South Carolina hosts a seminar every year where the many colleges and universities which have the first-year program get together to work on improving and offering suggestions to their colleagues on how they can improve their program. The workshop is usually a week long and attendance is voluntary.