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The First Year Experience: Freshman Electives

Coming into college, it’s normal for freshman students to feel overwhelmed with their schoolwork here and there. While it’s no surprise that college is more challenging than high school, it can get difficult for some students to keep up at times.

Luckily, Auburn has various electives available exclusively to freshman students that help them better handle some of the challenges they may face. Auburn University offers three courses that are tailored primarily to help freshman students with the transition from high school to college.

The Three Courses of First Year Experience

The three courses are part of the First Year Experience at Auburn, a program that oversees various other freshman activities such as Camp War Eagle, SOS and learning communities. The First Year Experience refers to these courses as First Year Seminars (FYS), and they are available to all first-year students. Students usually take FYS courses during the fall semester.

First Year Seminar courses provide assistance for students in a number of different areas. Students learn about the different accessible resources on Auburn’s campus, opportunities for involvement, critical thinking skills, test preparation, time management, study strategies and other essential materials and techniques.

Shelley Jones, a senior studying pre-med at Auburn University, previously served as a peer instructor for a Success Strategies course. She was offered the position after taking the class her freshman year. As a peer instructor, Jones mentored students, wrote lesson plans and even taught the class every once in awhile. As an instructor, Shelley made a conscious effort to take care of her students.

“When I worked as a peer instructor, I often went out of my way to give students extra academic guidance,” Jones said. “As a senior in college, I know it can be difficult for freshman students to decide which classes will work best with their schedule.”

UNIV 1050: Success Strategies

Success Strategies is a one-hour course. This class focuses on improving academic and personal skills. Success Strategies teaches reading, writing, and presentation skills; note-taking and study tactics; memory and test-taking pointers; as well as career opportunities.

There are many learning outcomes that Success Strategies aims to instill in freshman students. The course examines common transitional problems, develops critical thinking and understanding of the learning process, illustrates the mission of a research university, identifies opportunities for academic enrichment, and actively explores major and career paths. Success Strategies focuses on creating a more independent and successful freshman student.

Mary Rehm, a junior studying organismal biology, took a Success Strategies course her freshman year at Auburn University. Rehm claims to have really benefited from the course academically.

“Success Strategies really helped me take advantage of the resources available on campus,” Rehm said. “I also appreciated the guidance and advice from the peer instructor in our class.”

UNIV 1100: First Year Seminar

The First Year Seminar is offered as a one- or two-credit hour elective course. This course equips first-year students with the chance to analyze problems related to a specific theme, depending on which section is taken. Throughout First Year Seminar, students investigate issues through discussion, reading, writing, activities, community service and teamwork.

Each of these lessons concentrates on the theme of the particular class section. Relating the class themes to the first-year college experience and the capabilities needed for college success is the primary focus of the First Year Seminar courses.

UNIV 1150: Special Topics with Learning Strategies

Special Topics with Learning Strategies can be taken as either a one- or two-credit hour elective. This course allows first-year students to explore issues related to a specific theme depending on the course taken.

In this class, students examine complications related to the theme by using various different methods. Students may explore the questions through activities, discussion, writing, reading, teamwork and community service. Implementation of study methods as they relate to the theme is practiced throughout Special Topics with Learning Strategies.

The First Year Experience is an exceptional program evident through all it does for the freshman students at Auburn University. For further information on the organization, visit their website:

Join the Auburn Family! Enroll at Auburn.

Please visit the Future Students page. Also, consider visiting Auburn for a Tour. We want you to join the Auburn Family … so Apply Now.

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