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First-Year Experience

The First-Year Seminar at Illinois College introduces you to the unique value of a liberal arts education and will help you develop strategies for success that you will build on throughout your college journey.

Courses are focused on varying themes from a broad range of disciplines, and they offer incoming students an opportunity to enter into a small learning community with a team of student and professional mentors. 

Here is a sample of the interesting course titles from the past few years:

  • Think Like a Freak
  • Bones and Bloodshed: Forensic Anthropology and Crime Scene Investigation
  • Chemistry and Art
  • Computational Thinking for Problem Solving
  • Sports and Ethics
  • Are We There Yet?: The Great American Road Trip
  • Bizarre Foods
  • Beyond Despacito - Latin Music in America 
  • Winning Strategies: Games, Sports, and Life
  • The Social Science of Happiness
  • Physics in Video Games
  • Deconstructing Disney
  • Great Ideas in Mathematics
  • Heroes and Antiheroes in Theatre and Film

 Intended learning outcomes:

To give our students strategies for academic success in college.              

  • We communicate the standards of college-level work to our students in an environment where it is safe to ask questions and take risks.
  • We offer students workshops on skills necessary for academic success and introduce them to resources for academic support on campus.
  • We work with students on written and oral communication skills.
  • We provide space and structure for exploring interests, defining goals, and making plans to achieve them.

To help our students become engaged members of the campus community.    

  • We provide common learning experiences, like the Summer Reading Program, the Service Blitz, and the first-year convocations.
  • We introduce students to the values of the Illinois College community, including the importance of understanding diversity in the United States and of seeing themselves as members of a global community.
  • We help students form relationships with peers, student mentors, and academic advisors.
  • We connect students with student success staff and support centers which foster engagement and build community. 

To cultivate in our students the habits of lifelong, active learners.              

  • We model and talk about the importance of learning from a variety of sources and we guide students as they examine the benefits and limitations of different types of information sources.
  • We facilitate students’ discovery of the value of a liberal arts education, in connection with the goals/themes of our BLUEprint General Education Program.
  • We help students explore modes of active learning, including critical reading, discussion, research, collaboration, and critical and creative thinking.