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Welcome to the Thiel College First-Year Experience for Student Success

Close your eyes for a minute—where do you see yourself in 10 years? Twenty? Whether or not you have a clear vision for your future, college is a time for making connections with new people, learning to live in a new community, and making the most of new experiences.

Thiel College’s First-Year Experience for Student Success is the first of many investments you will make in your future. In a world where success is defined by what you know and by your ability to apply this knowledge, it’s essential to set yourself up for life-long learning and success by being academically confident and able to thrive within the Thiel community.

As a community, we’ll work together to help you find your place among the creative innovators, educators, researchers and leaders of tomorrow.

What is First-Year Experience for Student Success?

The weeks leading up to your first semester as a college student can be a whirlwind of excitement and questions: Will classes be difficult? Will I like my roommate? How do I become a campus leader? Do I really have to do my own laundry? Don’t worry. We have a whole community of faculty, staff and students ready to help you make sense of it all.

The First-Year Experience (FYE) program is a series of events leading up to your first day of classes. These activities allow you to engage in a college experience where your studies, interactions, and residential and social experiences come together to challenge how you think and to communicate differently and collaboratively as a member of a diverse community. 

By the end of your First-Year Experience for Student Success, you’ll be on your way to:

  • Appreciating the value of a liberal arts education designed to cultivate your skills in critical thinking, discussion and writing.
  • Discovering more about yourself and the world around you. 
  • Developing an appreciation for diverse communities and civic responsibilities.
  • Learning to live and work in a nurturing and supportive community.
  • Understanding the value of the academic and social sides of the College and how to successfully engage in both.

How FYE Works

The goal of FYE is to help ensure your success through a thoughtful and deliberate series of activities, events, academic advising, orientation and your first-year seminar.

Breaking the ice

Even before you graduate high school, we want you to get a feel for college life and to ask questions of our student leaders, faculty, administrators and even your future classmates.

  • Our interactive Facebook Live series lets you participate in open and honest Q&A sessions hosted by the experts—your fellow students! Want to know what happens on the weekend, how to choose a major, what to pack, what is Greek life, what it’s like to live with a roommate and more. Visit our Facebook page to view the Facebook Live series.
  • From now until Summer Orientation, Thiel’s online community gives First-Year students the chance to meet others with similar stories and interests. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your future roommate? You’ll also have quick access to your admission counselor and peer mentor.

Summer Orientation

Every story has a beginning and yours officially begins with an invitation to one of our First-Year orientation days held in June and July. This information-packed experience helps you and your parents get ready for Thiel College. It’s a great opportunity to meet future classmates, professors, and your adviser, learn about campus services and resources, and prepare for college life in general. By the end of the day, you and your parents should have most of your questions answered and then some.

Welcome Weekend

The day you have been anticipating all summer is finally here. From moving in and setting up your dorm room to Opening Convocation, get ready to start experiencing life as a college student!

Part of what makes Thiel College so special is more than 150 years of history and as a new member of the Thiel community you’ll want to take part in its many traditions, starting with the march up Brother Martin’s Walk. Only twice during your college career will you and your classmates travel Brother Martin’s Walk as a group—prior to Opening Convocation and Commencement.

First-Year Seminar (SEMS 110)

Have you ever wondered if "Star Wars" explosions could really happen in space? SEMS 110 courses will elevate your First-Year Experience to a whole new level when you explore a compelling issue, topic or text of your choosing and relate it to the world today. You’ll be paired with fellow students, your faculty adviser and a peer mentor to collaboratively explore this issue through related experiential activities and events and learn the foundations of critical thought. These creative seminars will engage you with new ideas and a diverse perspective.

"Star Wars" not your thing? What about social activism? Photography? From fine arts and storytelling to diversity and self-exploration—choose from a wide range of topics that pique your interest. Watch your inbox. We’ll email you when it is time to pick your topic.

With the guidance and support of your faculty adviser and peer mentor, by the end of this course, you’ll have a jumpstart on gaining valuable tools and skills for college success and your professional life.

First Year Seminar FAQ

Q: What is SEMS 110?

  • SEMS 110 is a small class of 20 or fewer students brought together to study a single topic using a seminar format (discussion, sharing, group-interaction). It is that part of the First-Year Experience designed to enhance your academic skills as a writer and thinker. Your class is led by your adviser and peer mentor.

Q: Who takes a seminar?

  • All first-year and transfer students with 30 or fewer transfer credits are required to enroll in a First-Year Seminar.

Q: What’s the benefit of the First-Year Experience?

  • You’ll make friends faster and build a network of classmates you see several times a week. You’ll learn about campus programs and services. Adjust to college faster. You’ll also be more likely to earn a higher GPA.

Q: Who teaches the SEMS 110?

  • SEMS 110 courses are taught by a select group of Thiel educators who will also serve as your academic adviser for your first year.

Q: What is a Peer Mentor?

  • Peer mentors are Thiel College junior and senior campus leaders who want to help you successfully transition from high school to college student.