First-Year Experience

Topics you’ll love. Skills you can use. Friends and mentors you won’t forget.

The College of Charleston First-Year Experience academic program provides you with a smooth transition to college life and the academic, social and cultural community at the College of Charleston.

Find a First-Year Experience to match your passions and goals, get involved, meet some new friends and build a great foundation to earning your College of Charleston degree. 

Listen: CofC Podcast Episode on FYE

FYE is not just a requirement


Explore our First-Year Experience and build connections, develop skills, and transition to College life while studying topics of interest to you!
  • FYE Basics

    Yes, FYE is required. All students who have completed less than one year of college when they enter the College of Charleston, must enroll in a First-Year Experience course, which can be worth anywhere from 3 to 8 credit hours. Successful completion of the First-Year Experience is part of the general education curriculum that is required for graduation.                                            

    Choose the FYE course that's right for you! We have three different types of FYE courses at the College of Charleston that all fulfill the FYE graduation requirement:

    1. The First-Year Seminar (FYSE/FYSU/FYSG) is a 3-credit hour academic course that explores special topics taught by our outstanding faculty. These are non-catalog courses, so this is the only opportunity you’ll have take this course. First Year Seminars are taught as smaller, discussion-style seminars. FYSEs are regular FYE seminars, FYSU/FYSGs are seminars that also satisfy an Race Equity Inclusion (REI) requirement (U=US focused and G=Global). These courses do not have prerequisites.
    2. The FYE Stand-Alone is a regular 3-4 credit hour catalog course (e.g., BIOL111 or PSYC103), but as an FYE course, it is taught with a special focus or theme that makes it unique. These are sometimes larger classes than a First Year Seminar, but they also often satisfy Gen Ed requirements, and serve as the entry point into particular majors/minors. These courses may have prerequisites. 
    3. A Learning Community (LC) links two academic courses (6-8 credit hours) often around a related theme or issue. All learning communities count toward other general education requirements as listed. One or both courses in a learning community may have prerequisites.

    Gaining a Peer's Perspective. All three of the FYE course types listed above are also linked with a Synthesis Seminar Course (FYSS 101). This is a weekly 50-minute seminar led by a peer facilitator that helps introduce you to the College’s academic community through the perspective and advice of a successful College of Charleston student.

    Complete your FYE requirement early! Your FYE requirement must be completed during your first year at the College of Charleston. The first year consists of your first three consecutive academic terms (e.g., the consecutive terms for students entering in the Fall would be Fall, Spring and the following Summer).

    Who is exempt from FYE? If you are a transfer student who has ALL of the following: 1) you have earned more than 24 college credits (excluding AP and dual enrollment credits you may have earned in high school); 2) you have completed at least one year on a college campus; and 3) if you are at least 20 years old. *Please note that Honors College students must complete their first year experience course through the Honors College

  • Program Outcomes

    In the First-Year Experience Program, you’ll receive more than just a grade. 

    You’ll work with our expert faculty and peer facilitators to become part of the academic and cultural community of the College. 

    In addition, you’ll take away some vital new skills to help you throughout your College of Charleston career: 

    • Interdisciplinary thinking 
    • Academic integrity 
    • The philosophy of liberal arts and sciences education
    • The skills to be successful in their academic careers

    Campus Resources 
    You’ll become familiar with campus resources for answers and assistance from research at the library to connecting to the wi-fi. 

    • Addlestone Library 
    • Information technology 
    • Center for Student Learning 
    • Career Center 
    • Other academic resources, student support services, and cultural resources. 

    Information Literacy 
    You’ll gain practice and skills in recognizing what information you need and how to locate, evaluate and effectively use that information: 

    • Use appropriate tools and search strategies to identify types of information specific to the discipline 
    • Evaluate the relevance, quality and appropriateness of different sources of information. 
    • Recognize and classify information within a bibliographic citation. 
    • Access and use information ethically and legally. 

    Integrative Learning 
    Your FYE faculty will encourage you to delve deeply into your topic and apply your knowledge and skills from other disciplines to solve complex issues: 

    • Use critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques in disciplinary contexts. 
    • Make connections across disciplines and/or relevant experiences.