Starting college off right: First Year Experience

Weber State University’s clock tower.

Starting college can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Weber State University offers a First Year Experience program to help new students navigate through college.

“The class is all about learning the skills necessary to be a successful college student, so teaching students how to manage their time, their stress, goal setting; we talk a lot about the purpose of education,” Ariel Olson, assistant director for FYE, said.

Starting in 1995, FYE aims to help students have the best possible experience. This includes telling students what amenities are offered, networking options and clubs found on campus.

”We also go over a lot of the campus resources so you don’t end up being a senior saying, like, ‘Wow, I wish I had known that,’” Olson said.

In a class, there are about 20 new students and a peer mentor. The peer mentor is also a student but has been at WSU for at least one semester. Peer mentors are there to be more approachable to ask questions to those who may not want to talk to the instructor.

Along with giving students advice and guidance on how to get through college, FYE classes count for three credits towards students’ degrees. These classes tend to be easier than other classes, only needing a D+ to pass.

If a new student knows where they are going in college but still wants to experience an FYE class, there are other classes they can join that are specialized in certain areas. For example, if students enjoy the outdoors, they can take a hiking class and receive credits.

Other specialized classes are college-specific classes that are dedicated to one of the colleges like the business or social sciences.

There are also honors classes students can take to explore different degrees. The honors classes are student-led and focus more on discussions than lectures.

If students already know what type of degree they want, the college-specific classes are good, but FYE classes can help solidify their choice in degree. These classes also go through what types of degrees are needed for careers.

Students who have already taken the class have the opportunity of being a peer mentor. The peer mentors are there to help new students navigate college life.

They do have a class to register for that gives them the opportunity to learn leadership skills as well as a tuition waiver and upper-division credits.

“My story with FYE is that I took the class as a student back in the day, then I peer mentored for several semesters, then I just never left,” Olson said. “Now I’m the assistant director for the program and I’ll probably die here. And that’s my dream.”

More information and answers to questions can be found at and [email protected].