First-Year Experience

First-Year Experience (GE 100) is a 3-unit course designed to introduce students to academic success strategies and foster a sense of belonging at the university through engagement in the curricular and cocurricular life on campus. The curriculum is composed of five main components: University 101, Strengths, Health and Wellness, Academic Advising, and Critical Thinking.

  1. University 101: This unit helps our students become more attuned to and understanding of college values, rigor, and skill sets. First-Year Experience also partners with Alpha Leaders (or peer leaders). Each class section consists of 2-3 Alpha groups, each of which includes 8-12 students. Alpha groups meet outside of class time each week to continue University 101 conversations, and to support the sense of community and belonging on our campus.
  2. Strengths: Students take the Noel Strengths Academy’s StrengthsFinder assessment by the fourth week of the semester. We invite Strengths-certified faculty and staff to teach our students how to utilize their unique strengths to advance in their academic and career pursuits.
  3. Health and Wellness: We believe that, in order for students to take care of their grades, studies, relationships, etc., they must first take care of themselves. As students transition to college life in their first semester at APU, First-Year Experience meets them there with informative lessons on health and wellness topics such as spirituality, relationships, finances, stress, anxiety, sleep, and more.
  4. Academic Advising: We require all students to seek out academic advising in order to prepare for the following semester, as well as remain on track for the rest of their academic career.
  5. Critical Thinking: Researching, reading, and writing through a college-level critical lens is of paramount importance for success in academia and careers that follow. The First-Year Experience curriculum explores a problem-based pedagogy, meaning students study a problem from many perspectives and approaches, then assess the best way to solve the problem based on the evidence and arguments they have collected and evaluated over the semester.

All new students are required to enroll in First-Year Experience in their first semester, except for those in Honors College, who have their own seminars. The course fulfills General Education requirements and has no prerequisites, and reflects APU’s Four Cornerstones—Christ, Scholarship, Community, and Service.

Contact

  • Alexa Johansen, M.A.

    First-Year Experience and Special Projects Coordinator, Academic Success Center

Note: This information is current for the 2018-19 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.