The First-year Seminar is the foundation of the entire Wheaton experience, both academically and in terms of creating intellectual community at the college. The course is conducted in a small group discussion format, and FYS instructors serve as academic advisors for their students until they formally declare a major. All first-year students are required to take an FYS.

Goals of the First Year Seminar Program

1. To inspire a cohort of enthusiastic, intellectually curious students who are prepared to assume responsibility for their education and their lives.
Students will:

  • Reflect on the reasons why they have come to college and what they understand a liberal arts education to be.
  • Engage with the concepts and spirit of the Honor Code.
  • Investigate the unique Wheaton College curriculum, including Connections, infusion, experiential learning and the academic disciplines.
  • Learn strategies for taking responsibility for their own college experience, such as self-advocacy, intentionality, and focus on active learning.

2. To introduce high standards and expectations for college-level academic skills.
Students will:

  • Read: comprehend and evaluate different types of written sources.
  • Discuss: participate in thoughtful, responsive discussions and practice effective public speaking.
  • Write: choose and develop persuasive points, organize supporting material, and express ideas with style and conviction.
  • Research: use library resources to undertake college-level research activities.

3. To assist students in negotiating the transition to emerging adulthood.
Students will:

  • Create and practice college-level success strategies – time management, organization of course materials, study skills, note-taking, and collaborative learning.
  • Explore Wheaton’s support services such as advising and learning centers and other resources on campus.
  • Develop a relationship with an advising team, including their advisor, staff mentor and student preceptors.
  • Become active, engaged members of the Wheaton College community.