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Residence Life at Messiah College

First-Year Experience

An All-Year Experience   Common Living-Learning   Resources & Opportunities   FAQs


Messiah College’s First-Year Experience encourages students in navigating the new opportunities and unique challenges of the first year of college.  Facilitated through the collaboration of committed educators and student leaders, all serving the specific needs of new students, the First-Year Experience is a year-long, intentionally delivered program.  Relieving anxiety and promoting holistic growth, Messiah College's First-Year Experience provides a solid foundation for the years ahead.



From stepping foot onto campus until checkout day in May, first-year students are provided with an outpouring of helpful resources and relationship-building events.  In addition to the support systems, opportunities, and activities enjoyed by all students, first-year students also receive the following:


   Summer – Messiah staff are busy preparing for students' arrival.

  • Housing assigned
  • Registration for courses
  • Common texts distributed for summer reading
  • Student ID Cards may be made


   Welcome Week – Orientation and becoming ingrained in the Messiah community.

  • Welcome Week begins with Move-In Day
  • Peer Group Meetings acquaint students with First-Year Seminar classmates
  • Residence Hall Floor Gatherings facilitate community
  • Into the Streets provides Peer Group interaction in service to greater Harrisburg
  • First-Year Games showcases residence hall pride
  • All-Hall Meetings present information about policies and procedures
  • Academic Advising Meetings
  • Student Programs kicks off the year with Block Party festivities


   Fall Term - Classes begin and becoming well established

  • First Friday provides fun times on the first real weekend of the semester
  • First-Year Seminar further prepares students for college-level coursework
  • Sundaes on Mondays alternate chapel series provides meaningful orientation
  • Wittlinger Chapel Series expresses Messiah College distinctives
  • Deck the Halls offers friendly Christmastime competition


   After J-Term - Welcoming new friends mid-year


   Spring Term -



Common-Living, Common-Learning

The First-Year Experience is distinctly known for facilitating a common-learning experience by bridging the curricular classroom environment with the cocurricular residential environment.  Messiah College’s dedicated first-year residence halls in Bittner, Naugle, and Witmer residence halls generate collaborative learning opportunities that reach beyond traditional classroom boundaries.  During the academic year, students are simultaneously enrolled in First-Year Seminar (Fall) and Created and Called for Community (Spring).  Classroom learning is extended into the residence halls as students live in common.  Each residence hall is led by as staff of upperclass Resident Assistants (RAs) who are overseen by full-time, masters level Residence Directors (RDs).


College Resources and Opportunities

In making the most of your time at Messiah College, all students are encouraged to check out the many resources and opportunities available to the campus community:


   Living On Campus:


   Wellness & Safety:


   Activities and Opportunties:


   Academic & Other Services:


Frequently Asked Questions

Check back soon for answers to your questions.  Or, if your question is unanswered through the links above, we invite you to email  Your question will be directed to the appropriate campus office for response.