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First Year Experience

First Year Experience

The University of San Diego’s First Year Experience (FYE) strives to build a community of engaged student learners who value academic excellence, intellectual, personal and spiritual development, inclusion, ethical conduct, and compassionate service. It integrates two core components: the preceptorial program and the residential life experience.

The first year of college at USD begins at the point of an undergraduate student’s admission to USD and concludes at the beginning of the following academic year. The university assigns a high priority to a student’s first year of college because the first year establishes an essential foundation for a successful educational and developmental experience. During the first year, students learn about the university’s mission, core values and expectations. As a result, students begin to practice the habits and skills of higher learning, thus helping shape the academic and social climate on campus.

First Year Experience Program Goals

The objectives of the First Year Experience at USD are:

  • Introduce students to the core curriculum as the foundation of USD’s liberal arts undergraduate education
  • Assist students’ transition to college life by informing them about multiple resources available to them
  • Introduce students to the mission and core values that form the identity of USD as a Catholic university
  • Encourage students to think about and begin to develop values for living with diversity and adopting a healthy lifestyle

The objectives will be accomplished by the following activities:

  • Orientation Experience
  • Preceptorial Program
  • Residential Life Experience
  • Living-Learning Community (LLC) Program

Additional programs and opportunities in the first year:

  • MAP-Works: Transition assessment and support
  • Out-of-State Student Program
  • Freshman Workshop Series
  • Academic support outreach
  • Emerging Leaders course
  • Student Learning and Development Transcript
  • Community Service activity
  • Student Organization/Recreation involvement or leadership
  • USD cultural events
  • USD sporting events

First Year Experience Program Descriptions

Orientation Experience

USD’s orientation experience begins during the summer and culminates with the Torero Days on-campus experience the days before classes begin. The overall orientation experience is designed to introduce students to the university and fellow students. A number of activities and experiences are facilitated by student leaders, staff, and faculty that will help new students become more comfortable in their new living environment, better understand the demands and expectations of college life at USD, and begin to connect with fellow students, faculty and staff.

Preceptorial Program

The preceptorial program is one of the two core components of USD’s First Year Experience. The program involves faculty advisors for incoming first-year students in a small class called the preceptorial. The content of the preceptorial course depends on the course title and description. All preceptorial courses fulfill a core curriculum requirement and count toward graduation.

Preceptorial Assistant

The Preceptorial Assistant (PA) is a successful continuing USD student who serves as a liaison to the preceptorial faculty member, mentor to new students, and general resource for first-year students. Preceptorial assistants also plan and implement outside-of-class activities to assist students with the transition to college.

Residential Life Experience

Residential Life is one of the two core components of USD’s First Year Experience. All first-year students are required to live on campus during the first year. All first-year resident students will have a First Year Experience Resident Assistant (FYE RA) who works on their hall to establish a respectful and inclusive community. All students in first year halls will meet individually with their FYE RA who serves as a mentor and resource for university services, activities, and programs.

Living-Learning Community (LLC) Program

Living-Learning Communities (LLC’s) are an expanding part of the first year experience that integrates both of the two core components – preceptorial program and residential life. A Living Learning Community is a group of students who take a preceptorial class together, live near one another and experience college in a way that is more than just living in a residence hall or going to class. Each community is built around a theme like social justice, science and transformation, sustainability or faith.