First Year Seminars

First year seminars provide an experience for entering students designed to offer information and support for the transition to high school or college. First year seminars help students ease the transition to their new learning environment academically and socially. Typically, first year seminars engage students in learning and social interactions with peers, mentors, and instructors designed to help them learn the culture, expectations and resources of the new environment. First year seminars may be offered in various formats such as extended orientation, academic seminars with uniform or variable content, discipline-based seminars, or basic study skills seminars.

Evidence Base for First Year Seminars:

Articles and Websites

The National Resource Center for the First Year Experience at the University of South Carolina:  provides publications, research, conferences, and other program support materials.


Brownell, Jayne E. and L.E. Swaner (2010): Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality. Washington DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities. This monograph identifies five high-impact educational practices including first year seminars, and summarizes current research on the practices.