First-Year Experience

PNC’s First-Year Experience Pilot Program represents the best collaborative efforts of faculty, administration, and staff to provide resources for the success of first-year students, and introduce PNC’s General Education curriculum.

Information for Students and Parents

  • FYE Overview
  • What’s In the Course
  • How It Counts

FYE Overview

What’s the difference between college and high school? Why do you still have to take courses outside of your major? What’s with all these letters—BABS, ECE, ECET, etc.? What’s the best way to take the courses I need and graduate quickly, and without much debt? How do I pick a major? How do I know my major works for me?

New college students have a lot of questions: the First-Year Experience (FYE) at PNC is designed to provide answers, to help students find their way around the university, get comfortable, and be successful here and beyond.

It’s also a “serious” course: you read challenging things, you write papers, you think, you talk in class. You are pressed to be an “active learner,” not simply take what’s served up to you. College is about that.
And it’s an “interdisciplinary” course. Instead of Sociology 100, or another introductory course with a name like “Biology” or “English” or “History” in front of it, you’re taking a course created by professors from different departments who have gotten together to teach. That means you get to see what those different fields offer, how different professors think and what they want from you as a university student.

Who’s the course for? 

First-years. All of them. Confident students will find plenty to chew on; less confident students receive plentiful support from the instructional staff. Your success is the point.

What’s in the Course

So what do we actually do in FYE? We provide you with skills for college success, put you in touch with resources on campus, and introduce you to the various parts of the college. We also introduce college-level general education, and specifically address three areas: interdisciplinary study through big questions, critical thinking, and foundations and skills for lifelong learning. The course is built around big questions—three of them, in fact. They are (1) What is the relationship between prosperity and happiness? (2) What is college for? (3) How much does your past determine your future? Each of those questions leads up to a major assignment: a critical journal, an essay, and a group presentation. Other assignments are woven in. The detailed schedule provides much more detail, but here are the big things:

Success-related assignments

  • note taking, reading for comprehension and retention
  • weekly schedule
  • 4-year graduation plan
  • scavenger hunt for university resources
  • career investigation/major investigation
  • resume and cover letter

Other assignments

  • three essay exams, in class
  • short online writing assignments—journals and discussions (about one per class)
  • critical journal (6 pp.)
  • essay (5 pp.)
  • group presentation

How does this course count?

FYE counts for General Education credit in all PNC programs of study, and is required in several. It will transfer to many other universities as a humanities/social sciences credit.

FYE is required for all of the following first-time entering students:

  • Pre-Nursing
  • ECET
  • Biology (all concentrations)
  • All Undecided Students
  • All Conditionally Admitted Students