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The College of Charleston has a long tradition of academic experiences aimed specifically at first-year students. The Freshman Seminar has been a valuable tool for new students to learn study skills, explore the transition to colllege, and connect to the resources of the college since the mid-1990s.

In the Spring of 2007, the Faculty Senate passed a proposal that would create a required academic experience for all first-year students, consisting of First-Year Seminars and residential and non-residential Learning Communities. To that end, a Director of the First-Year Experience was hired and a new college committee constituted.  The First-Year Experience has been required since the Fall of 2011 for all incoming students with less than one year of college experience.