First-Year Experience


The First-Year Experience at Fairmont State University

Once a student’s first semester has begun, a robust college experience launches.  Far more than studying and exams, the college experience should be definitive in a student’s life; helping mold and shape that student into the person he or she will be moving forward.  The college experience, if adequately taken advantage of, should be comprised also of thinking deeper into pre-conceived notions; exploring interests; and getting to know people from different backgrounds, who possess perspectives that differ from one’s own.  A college-educated person should not merely be college-educated; he or she should exude the qualities of an educated person. 

Students who fully benefit from the college experience have also grasped “how to adult” and have mastered many of the life skills necessary to a fulfilled and successful life after college. Incoming FSU students are readied for college success through a series of three distinct and consecutive programs: Orientation, Welcome Weekend; and the First-Year Experience. The First-Year Experience is delivered over two linked initiatives:

1. In-Class First-Year Seminar "SOAR to Success" Courses

2. On-Campus Engagement via Activities/Sessions/Events

In-Class component: a two-course series that promotes a sense of belonging and provides students with the tools  they need to be successful in college. All SOAR courses have as a foundation (1) the application  of specific academic study skills built into the  curriculum (2) active learning techniques to develop a sense of community within the class. SOAR courses can be described as those that focus on both the informational and relational aspects of teaching and learning.

The On-Campus component is managed by the Office of Student Success and was developed in collaboration with key campus stakeholders and the Campus Collaborative for Recruitment & Retention, the FYE Passport Program is intended aid incoming students in achieving the following outcomes:

  1. Acquire and apply tools that support academic success in college.
  2. Establish an individual and unique sense of identity as a foundation for personal growth and success as a college student. 
  3. Establish and sustain routines and habits that create a sense of belonging to and stewardship for the University community.
  4. Demonstrate principles of responsible citizenship as a member of the campus, local and broader communities.
  5. Prepare to live responsibly in a diverse, globally interconnected, and changing world; to acquire global perspectives.

Students will particpate in a minimum of five total Passport Activities (one per outcome category) for each of the five FYE outcomes outlined above. Student will begin completing Passport activites at Welcome Weekend and will continue participating throughout their first year. To preview what activities the FYE Passport has in store, click on the bright green link above.