First-year experience

First-Year Experience at Messiah University

Messiah University’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 University's First-Year Experience provides a solid foundation for the years ahead.


1. Belonging in Community  

Learning Outcome: First year students will experience meaningful relationships with peers and educators. 

We obtain this outcome through….

  • intentional community connections with peers
    • First year res halls, living learning communities, commuter lounge, clubs and organizations, service opportunities, multicultural and international student programs, chapel, orientation, Becoming U
  • meaningful and mentoring relationships with our community of educators
    • Advising, First Year Seminar (FYS) and Created and Called for Community (CCC), residence directors, Becoming U, athletics

2. Tools for Success 

Learning Outcome: First year students will locate and use university services and resources to help them succeed academically.  

We obtain this outcome through….

  • the Academic Success Center, which provides students with tools and skills necessary for academic success, including office of academic accessibility, academic support services, and the writing center
    • FYS, introductory courses within majors
  • effective use of Messiah University technologies (Canvas, FalconLink, email)
    • Educational technology services modules
  • connections made with the Career & Professional Development Center, particularly regarding major selection, ELI planning, and exploring career and internship options
    • Presentations to all CCC courses, career coaching appointments
  • effective use of library resources
    • FYS, CCC, academic departments, librarians
  • intervention and care from Messiah University professionals
    •  Bridge to Success survey
  • living/learning communities
    • Residence life and academic departments
  • student services
    • Student financial serves, Slingshot

3. Messiah University Mission and Identity 

Learning Outcome: First-year students will be begin to locate their place within the mission of the university and foundational values. 

We obtain this outcome through….

  • service opportunities
    • Agape Center, Collaboratory, AROMA, Becoming U, and CCC
  • leadership opportunities
    • Becoming U and CCC
  • our understanding and practice of reconciliation
    • Sider Institute Whitlinger chapelsBecoming U and CCC
  • integration of faith and learning inside and outside the classroom
    • FYS, CCC, Becoming U, chapel
  • our foundational values lived out in community
    • Becoming U, CCC, convocation, living in community

4. Liturgies of Learning 

Learning Outcome: First-year students will nurture habits of creativity, intellectual curiosity and hospitality. 

We obtain this outcome through….

  • common learning experiences
    • FYS common text, CCC, Becoming U, chapel
  • a variety of learning opportunities outside of the classroom
    • Clubs and organizations, art shows, theatre productions, music performances

5. Holistic Growth and Personal Responsibility

      Learning Outcome: First-year students will demonstrate interpersonal development, holistic personal growth and wellness, and a commitment to our common good. 

      We obtain this outcome through….

  • learning self-regulation toward pursuing academic goals
    • Academic Success Center, FYS, res life, academic advising
  • learning effective time management skills by balancing academic work with other activities such as social life, work, family and co-curricular activities  
    • Academic Success Center, FYS, res life, athletics, academic advising
  • learning to appreciate differences that enrich the MU learning environment
    • Becoming U, multicultural and international student programs, chapel, living in community
  • making intentional choices that promote physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing
    • Student wellness and recreation, WEL courses, chapel, Engle Center