First and Sophomore Year Experiences

We recognize that robust programs that aid our students in the transitional college years helps establish their long-term success; not only at E-town, but also in life after college. By integrating them into the fabric of our campus, providing enrichment opportunities, and a dedicated faculty mentor, we ensure that they can call Elizabethtown College home.

First Year Experience (FYE)

The FYE is comprised of three parts: first year seminar, first year advising, and first year honor society.

Serving as the students’ first year advisor, the first year seminar professor facilitates the transition from high school to college and hones skills of research and writing. Participation assists students in making a positive transition to college. A small learning environment coupled with intensive faculty and peer advising promotes higher student retention, a solid basis for academic success and the ability to make meaningful and fulfilling decisions. Funding is needed to make peer mentor-led academic Roundtables available to all first year students and to support an annual research experience in Washington, D.C.

The course is a serious academic one, and it is topical in nature, meaning that each seminar has its own emphasis. Our faculty members teach seminars on subjects of passionate interest to them, but no seminar is grounded in any particular major. This is all part of our commitment to a liberal arts education. We want our students to become well-rounded scholars.

An important component to FYE is first year advising. The first year seminar instructor is the students’ official advisor for their first year. Once they declare a major, they are paired with a faculty mentor in their discipline who is equipped to help them best meet their academic and professional goals.

Sophomore Year Experience (SYE)

The Sophomore Year Experience Program is built around the concept of discernment—helping each student determine his or her unique path in terms of career goals, life aspirations, and the practical steps (such as undergraduate research, internship placements, and study abroad) that will facilitate realization of those objectives. Though participation in the SYE is optional, around 50% of students opt to join the second year of personal development opportunities.

Funding is needed to support an off-campus Sophomore Retreat and to provide scholarships for a new sophomore short-term study abroad program in Spain and Morocco. The new study abroad course will allow sophomores to go abroad early in their college career, to reflect on life goals in the context of the wider world, and will offer them a unique avenue to complete a Signature Learning Experience requirement. Most students who study abroad do so when they are juniors. One hope is that by exposing sophomores to other cultures with a short-term visit, they will consider undertaking a semester-long experience.

Completion of these programs facilitates higher student retention and more meaningful forms of engagement both domestically and internationally.

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