University Senate Committee on General Education


Congratulations on being selected for the First Year Experience program at WestConn! You are part of an exciting initiative designed to facilitate the academic transition to college by connecting first year students with faculty, services, resources and experiences to ensure success. 

We have tried to anticipate some questions you may have and provide answers.  If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us!

(*Possibly Asked Questions!)

Some of my courses have an "FY" after the course number.  What does that mean?

Students take three 100-level general education courses throughout the curriculum specifically designated as First Year Experience (“FY”) courses. These courses enroll first year students only and are capped at 22 students per section (most other 100-level general education courses have more students enrolled).  FY  courses are designed to engage students in the intellectual life of the university, develop effective study skills, and help students explore, discover, and connect with the resources needed to succeed at WestConn.

What makes an FY course different?

FY courses are similar in content to non-FY courses, and they count for the same number of semester hours as non-FY courses. However, FY courses incorporate specific academic skills and activities such as library instruction and/or research, oral communication, and writing, as well as exposure to campus programs and services focused on students success. The smaller class size and integration of co-curricular activities such as public lectures, plays, films, concerts and musical events will assist students in the transition to a university setting, while emphasizing the breadth of the learning community both within and outside the classroom.

Moreover, the courses feature more personalized instruction and provide students with space for active participation. Many First Year courses also make effective use of teamwork and other forms of collaboration, which not only contribute to professional development objectives (much of the work world requires teamwork) but also provides students with an early opportunity to make strong social bonds within the classroom that they can rely on throughout their career at WestConn.

Who is in the FY program?

Last year (academic year 2007 - 2008), one third of the incoming class were randomly selected to participate.  In 2008-09, two thirds of the incoming class will be selected, and, finally, in 2009-10 the entire first year class will benefit from the first year experience.

Do students in the FY program have to do anything special?

No and yes.  The first year program consists of regular general education classes taught in a different, more interactive way.  So participating will not require any additional coursework or contact hours.  However, FY students will need to work with an advisor to register for appropriate FY course(s) in the second semester.

What benefits are there to being in the FY program?

Students will have the opportunity to interact with full-time faculty in at least three small-section classes in their  first year, and to experience the kinds of relationships and learning activities not often possible in large, introductory classes.  By forming relationships and being exposed to the range of resources on campus, students will develop an appreciation and excitement for learning and be better prepared for the future demands of advanced college work.

Who can be contacted for more information?

Patty O'Neill
Coordinator, First Year Experience





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