The Daunting Task of College: First-year Seminars and Student Experience



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This study examines the significance of first-year seminars (FYS) on student experience by looking through the lens of the nationwide shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through surveys and interviews, Mount Holyoke professors and students give their perspectives on first-year seminars to provide insight into the value of first-year seminars. Using thematic analysis this study tries to answer three questions. How do FYS meet institutional expectations from a professor and student perspective? How do FYS meet student expectations for pre, during, and post-COVID-19? How do FYS meet student expectations for different affinity/identity groups? By answering these questions, four themes were developed from the data set. With these themes, we can start to gain knowledge on how first-year seminars affect the student's experience and adaptability to college. This creates a new understanding of first-year seminars, adding to the limited research that exists in this area.



First-year Seminars, Sense of Belonging, COVID-19, Student Experience