First-Year Experience Program


The First-Year Experience is designed to help first-year students successfully transition to Whittier College and develop dispositions of academic and social engagement.

The program teaches students how to be active, contributing members of the campus community, develop a proactive approach to learning, and fully understand their educational options and career opportunities through the development of close relationships with faculty, fellow students, and upper class peer mentors.

The First-Year program consists of

  • First-Year Orientation: The official beginning of your college adventure, orientation assists new students, parents, and families make transitions, academically and socially, into the College community.
  • First-Year Writing Seminar (FWS): Also known as INTD 100, these seminars - themed courses designed by faculty from all disciplines - delve into challenging intellectual questions that first-years explore in class discussions and essays.
  • Faculty Mentors: Faculty mentors teach the First-Year Writing Seminar and also serve as first-year advisors until students are ready to declare a major. Mentors reserve time to meet with students each week.
  • Writing Associates Program: Upper class students work with first-year students to provide writing and general academic support.
  • First-Year Theme Communities: A theme community is an environment where students with similar interests live together in a dedicated area of a residence hall and participate in programs that echo similar academic, social and personal interests. Two of these theme communities, our First-Generation and Leadership Development communities, are exclusively for first-year students.
  • Academic Advising: First-year students work with CAAS (Center for Advising and Academic Success) to register for courses during the summer/spring before the start of school.
  • Events: The First-Year program collaborates with various departments on campus – including Residential Life, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Weingart Center for Career and Professional Development - to host events and programs especially for first-year students.