Center for Student Success

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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 Living Learning Communities.

The first year of college at the University of San Diego begins at the point of an undergraduate student's admission to USD and concludes at the beginning of the following academic year.

USD 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.

The objectives of the First Year Experience are to:

  1. Introduce students to the Core Curriculum as the foundation of USD's liberal arts undergraduate education.
  2. Assist student's transition to college life by learning about multiple resources available to them.
  3. Introduce students to the mission and core values that form the identity of USD as a Catholic university.
  4. Encourage students to think about and begin to develop values for living with diversity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What Incoming Students Can Expect

Experience Description Related Links
OLÉ! Weekend (Orientation) The days before classes begin are designed to introduce students to USD and fellow students. Activities and experiences are facilitated by student leaders 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 This program is a core component of FYE. The program involves faculty advisors for incoming freshmen in a small class called the "preceptorial." The content of the preceptorial course depends on the course title and description. Preceptorial courses fulfill a core curriculum requirement and count towards graduation.
Preceptorial Assistant As part of each preceptorial, there will be a "preceptorial assistant" or "PA." The PA is a successful continuing USD student who services as a liaison between the students and the professor, mentor to new students, and general resource for USD. PAs also plan and implement activities outside of class to assist students with the transition to college.
Residential Life Residential Life is another core component of FYE. All freshmen are required to live on campus during the first year. FYE Resident Assistants (RAs) work with residents on their hall to establish a respectful and inclusive community. Some students will participate in Living-Learning Communities (LLCs) in their first-year with linked courses and activities. 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.
Student Success Workshops The CSS offers a variety of Student Success Workshops designed specifically to assist students with the transition to college. New USD freshmen have the opportunity to attend workshops of their choosing during their first semester. Workshop topics cover the gamut of issues that new freshmen are likely to encounter including faculty expectations, time management, study skills, choosing a major and more.