The First Year: The Key to Student Success

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At Southern Connecticut State University, we offer a comprehensive First-Year Experience (FYE) Program for all new, first-time students. The goal of the FYE Program is to help new students make the transition to college, connect them with fellow students and academic advisers through innovative learning communities, and support their efforts to succeed with everything from academic achievement to study skills workshops and leadership opportunities.  For more information, contact the First-Year Experience Office at (203) 392-6646.

There are several steps that new students entering the University must complete as part of the enrollment process. The letter confirming admission to all new students contains specific directions on the next steps students should take to accept the University's offer of admission. The admission letter will direct students to a user-friendly web-based "Next Steps" process in the Undergraduate Admissions Portal, which will lead them through these important steps, one by one. The online "Next Steps" site will guide them through the processes of making an admissions deposit, requesting high school and/or AP/College-credit course transcripts, financial planning for tuition, applying for financial aid, living on campus, activating email accounts, completing placement assessments, and registering for New Student Orientation.


First-year students (freshmen) are required to participate in a New Student Orientation session held during the summer; a simultaneous one-day orientation program is offered for parents/families. The orientation helps students in making a successful academic, intellectual, and social transition into the University community.  Orientation provides a comprehensive and interactive set of events, workshops, and activities and has proven vital to a successful transition to the University. It introduces students to university academic programs and student services. It also provides opportunities for newcomers to the campus to interact with other students, as well as with staff, faculty, and administrators.  First-year students who begin in the spring semester will be invited to attend a one-day small group orientation and advising session.  Transfer students are encouraged to attend a one-day TRANSFERmation (orientation) in July/August for students beginning in the fall semester or January for students beginning in the spring semester.

Orientation also familiarizes new students with co-curricular activities and extracurricular life on campus. University student groups, clubs, and organizations sponsor events and activities at orientation that provide new students the opportunity to interact and socialize with one another.

First-Year Students will be registered for their courses prior to attending orientation professional advisers based on the information provided in the New Student Orientation Registraiton Survey. The faculty and staff of the Academic Advisement Center and the First- Year Experience Program work closely together to ensure that students receive the advisement they need to plan their educational futures. Transfer Students will schedule an advising appointment with an academic advisor prior to the start of the semester to received advisement and register for their courses. For more information, contact Orientation, Transition & Family Engagement at (203) 392-5189 or email


The First-Year Experience Program (FYEP) is a campus-wide initiative that introduces first-year students to the demands of academic and social development during the transition to college with the expressed intention of fostering creative and intellectual inquiry, encouraging community involvement, and instilling lifelong learning into the hearts and minds of students.

At the heart of the FYEP is the notion of Learning Communities. All first-time, first-semester students take part in an Academic Learning Community, where cohorts of 20-25 students move through two of their liberal education courses together, forming connections with their peers, as well as the faculty who teach these courses, and the staff and peer mentors who support them.

Faculty members teaching in the Learning Communities serve as first-year academic advisers, helping students to connect with advisers in major departments and discussing issues such as succeeding academically; developing educational goals; investigating majors; planning for careers; internships and study abroad opportunities; campus leadership opportunities; and meeting graduation requirements. Advisers also help to connect students to the many services available at the university.


All first-time, first-semester students, except for those enrolled in the Honors College, will be enrolled in a Learning Community which contains INQ 101: Intellectual and Creative Inquiry and a Critical Thinking course.

INQ 101: Intellectual and Creative Inquiry

INQ 101: Intellectual and Creative Inquiry is a 3-credit seminar course designed to assist first-year students in becoming engaged members of the SCSU community. Seminars are organized thematically; topics vary by instructor. All seminars focus on the process of learning how to learn and cultivating the habits of mind for life-long achievement and success. Students will learn and practice the process of academic inquiry common to all university disciplines, while exploring their reasons for seeking a university education and the choices they make as first-year university students.

Critical Thinking

Taught by faculty from a variety of disciplines, these courses help students to identify problems and to think effectively about their solutions, both of which require making good arguments and critically assessing information.These skills are necessary for active learning and independent thinking; they are also essential for academic success and good decision-making in students' personal, professional, and public lives.