First-Year Program Overview | St. Lawrence University New Laurentian Guide

First-Year Program Overview

FYP Courses
One important component of your first year at St. Lawrence will be your First-Year Program (FYP) in the fall and your First-Year Seminar (FYS) in the spring. The entire First-Year Program (including FYP and FYS) is overseen by the Associate Dean of the First Year.

In the fall, the FYP course will introduce you to critical issues and questions that humans face, through an interdisciplinary lens. Every FYP course strives to do the following:

  • introduces you to a liberal arts education;
  • features an interdisciplinary approach to its theme or topic;
  • helps you develop reading, writing, oral communication and research skills;
  • assists you in building a living-learning community with the other students in your course.

FYP courses emphasize engaged learning, in which you are expected to take an active and responsible role in your education both in and out of the classroom. Your FYP course will count as the equivalent of 1.5 courses, and it is one of the four courses you will take in the fall semester.

Placement in Your FYP Course
You will be placed in your FYP course based on your responses to three forms (available on your Admissions portal): FYP College Preference, Housing Assignment Profile, and Your Academic Interests. All three forms must be completed by May 30 or your housing and placement will be delayed.

Read carefully all of the FYP Course Descriptions, then complete the FYP College Preference form, choosing at least six to eight FYP courses you are interested in. We will try to place you into one of your choices. Remember that you will also be living with your classmates. You will be notified of your FYP placement via your SLU email no later than mid-July.


FYP Residential Colleges
You and your classmates in your FYP course will live together in what we at St. Lawrence call a “residential college.” Each college will have approximately 16 students per faculty instructor. Some FYPs are team-taught by two instructors, while others are solo-taught by one instructor. Some of the solo colleges may collaborate with other solo colleges, where the students and faculty in those FYPs come together and work towards common academic and residential goals.

We have found that students who both live together and take a common course together are more comfortable participating in class discussions and find it easier to create productive and friendly relationships with faculty and staff. Linking course sections with specific residences in living-learning communities also means that you can integrate many of the course experiences with your social and community relationships.

You will live with one or two community assistants (CAs), upper-class students trained to be resources for any residential issues that might arise and for making the transition to college. The CAs and the other student life staff offer a full range of co-curricular programs in the residence that involve you, your faculty, and the staff in learning experiences that take you well beyond the conventional limits of the classroom.

As part of living and learning in the FYP, you might find yourself working in the residence hall with your classmates on a group presentation for class, having a community discussion of issues facing first-year students, or enjoying a movie night with your FYP faculty.

In addition, we hope that you will use the FYP as a springboard to build significant connections to others at St. Lawrence by, for example, joining student organizations, participating in the numerous athletic opportunities available or standing for election to student government. Your CAs will be valuable resources in helping you to make these other connections.

FYP and Advising
One of the instructors for your FYP course will be your academic advisor. Your advisor will try to get to know you as a whole person; therefore, he or she will quickly become a strong resource for you. You may ask any faculty member with whom you connect in your first year to serve as an additional advisor. You may continue with your FYP advisor for your sophomore year or select a new one. When you declare a major, normally during the second semester of your sophomore year, you will choose an advisor who is affiliated with your major.

Because a satisfactory working relationship with your advisor is of paramount importance, and because at a liberal arts college students’ interests often change as they progress through their education, you may change advisors at any time after your first semester. The Associate Dean for Academic Advising Programs works closely with faculty, both those in the FYP and those in academic departments, to ensure that students are properly advised.

Spring Semester First-Year Seminars (FYS)
In the fall semester, you will choose a First-Year Seminar (FYS). Each FYS also counts as 1.5 courses, and each extends the communication skills portion of the FYP by focusing on research and critical inquiry in a seminar environment that emphasizes close student-faculty interaction. You will be provided with additional information about the FYS program in the fall semester via your SLU email.

Because of the importance of the FYP and FYS in preparing students for success at St. Lawrence and beyond, withdrawal from those courses is not permitted, nor may FYP and FYS courses be taken on a pass/fail basis.