When many students across the country are told they are required to take a First Year Experience (FYE) course (also called a Freshman Seminar) during their first semester, there’s often a lot of confusion (and even frustration) surrounding it.
As an incoming freshman, you might say, “I took the campus tour--I already know everything about USA, right?” Wrong. The knowledge of how to “college” isn’t something that comes to you magically while you sleep in your residence hall the first night. Success is attainable for all, but you’ve got to learn a few things before you ace those fall final exams.
HOW TO STUDY
Everyone learns differently; in fact, there’s a whole field of study called metacognition, which is the study of how our minds take in (and retain) information. In high school, depending on the rigor of the material, studying for a test probably meant reading our notes and a chapter in the textbook a few times. In college, courses cover almost four times the material in half the time. You’ve got to take a more active role in your studying in order to keep up. Many FYE courses incorporate the VARK, a learning style assessment into the first few weeks of school. The VARK identifies how you learn best (kinesthetic, read-write, aural, or visual) and offers specific study techniques for each type.
HOW TO GET HELP
Did you know there are hundreds of people on campus at USA whose job it is to help freshmen acclimate to college? From the First Year Advising Center (FYAC) to JagSuccess tutors (a.k.a JagPals) to the Writing Center and more, these people are there to help you in any way possible. A FYE course can connect you to all the things (and people) you’ll need in your time at South.
HOW TO GET OUT THERE
College is a major adjustment. You’re suddenly plunged into a world of unfamiliar people and places. So is everyone else in your FYE. Many of your FYE classmates will also be taking Biology 101, or English Composition I, and may be in your same class, even. Take the opportunity to get to know them, form study groups, go get coffee together. College is about forging new connections, including social ones.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME
Time management is one of the skills college students report that they needed to learn ASAP to be successful. A FYE will ease you into the habit of spacing out your reading, studying, and social life so that you get to make the most of your first year of college. Pro tip: buy a planner and make sure to use it.
HOW TO NETWORK
It’s all about who you know, right? Making a great first impression on your professors and instructors can lead to fantastic opportunities in the future. Make sure to visit your professors’ office hours at least once, so that they connect your face to your name. A FYE will cover things like how to appropriately correspond with faculty and how to get help from professors, if needed.
This list just barely scratches the surface of the benefits a Freshman Seminar course offers. So when you see it on your fall schedule, know it’ll prepare you with the resources you need to rock your first semester and beyond.