The Perks of the First-Year Program (FYP)
The First-Year Program (FYP) has been at St. Lawrence University for over 30 years and it’s something that the students here truly appreciate. The program has three pillars: academic, advising, and residence. This means that you will have a common class of 20-30 students. The class topics range and incoming students rank their class choices over the summer before the start of their first-year. In addition to having a common class with your FYP, you live together on the same floor of one of the six first-year residence halls on campus. The third piece is advisory, which means your professor is also your academic advisor until you are ready to get a new advisor who specializes in your declared major. Given my experience with the FYP, I wanted to give you the inside scoop on this program and the perks that come along with it!
1. Immediate Sense of Community
Between having a common class, going through Orientation together, and living on the same floor, you immediately feel as if you have a family here on campus. My FYP was centered around “What it Means to be Local: Your Place in the World”. We looked at the local town of Canton, New York, and were able to travel to the local farmer’s market and the town museums together. Our floor instantly became friendly with each other and if we weren’t in class together, we were getting lunch or hanging out it someone’s room. I can’t remember a time where my floor didn’t have multiple doors open. We also had workshops in which our FYP combined with another FYP class and this allowed us to further our connections and meet more students in our year.
This immediate sense of community helped me with my transition to college. With being a six-hour drive away from home, it seemed easy to be caught up in being away from my family for an extended period. However, SLU became a second home to me and the typical fear of not having any friends never crossed my mind again.
The FYP program makes it so that you come into college with an immediate family and as you continue your college career, you continues to extend that sense of family. As a sophomore, I don’t get to see all the members of my FYP as regularly as I did in my first-year, however, some of my lifelong friends are people from my FYP and I would be comfortable talking to all of them if I ever needed anything!
2. Advising Connections
Having an academic advisor is a crucial part of college. They are the people you look to for class scheduling advice, career paths, and general assistance while learning to navigate your first-year. The perk of the FYP is that your academic advisor is your professor. This allows students to take the guessing out of who they want their advisor to be and students already know their advisor from class, which makes them readily available for advice and appointments. My first-year advisor would invite students to his office for tea and we would talk about anything that was on our minds. He had open office hours twice a week and students really took advantage of this. It was also great that the FYP advisors are well-versed in their expertise, which allows you to use them as a connection to other advisors within the field of your intended major once you find the academic path that interests you.
3. Preparation for other Courses
The course in which you are enrolled in is also a very crucial part to the FYP. The coursework helps you prepare for the next four years of college level education. The transition from high school classwork to college standards can be something that students struggle with in their first semester. The FYP takes all of that stress away and is helps students learn the basic standards of formatting, citations, presentation skills, and essay writing. The professors understand that in high school, you probably weren’t expected to give an hour long presentation or write a 12-page research paper. Knowing this, they are able to work with students to make them comfortable with semester long assignments and are able to get them to the correct writing and public speaking standards that will help them with the rest of their academic career. Thinking about the first presentation I gave in my FYP class, I can confidently say that my public speaking skills and confidence has tremendously grown since then through practice and preparation. I can also reference multiple times in which I have used citation notes from my FYP class to guide me in research papers for other classes.