First-Year Experience Program


The mission of the First Year Programs at Whittier College is to help students transition to our community.

Students will develop the skills and dispositions needed for academic success. Beginning with developing a sense of Community for new students, the framework for student success is embedded in the curriculum. Therefore, Community is the foundation of the Whittier College First Year Experience.

What is a community? A body of people living in the same place who, despite their individual differences, share a common goal and set of values—as well as joint ownership of, and participation in, the activities of the whole. A sense of place, of being at "home"; of being a part of a family, within which one has both rights and obligations.

How is Community integrated into the Whittier College curriculum?

The resources and opportunities below provide mechanisms for a smooth transition to the first year of college. They foster the development of relationships with faculty, students and staff. They teach students how to be active, contributing members of the Whittier College community.

First Year Writing Seminar (INTD 90 or INTD 100)

These seminars—themed courses designed by faculty from all disciplines—delve into challenging intellectual questions which freshmen explore in class discussions and in essays. Composition instruction emphasizes writing as a process involving the constructive critical collaboration of author, the author's peers, and the instructor. Seminar sizes limited to 16 students and differ in content each year. Each seminar is a 3-credit course, and is taken for a letter grade.

First-Year Faculty Mentor and Advisor

A First Year Faculty Mentor teaches INTD 90 or INTD 100, College Writing Seminar. Mentors serve as Academic Advisors in the first year and then continue on as advisors until students choose a major by the end of their second year. By this time, a student must choose an advisor in their major.

Students see their mentor in class (INTD 90 or INTD 100) and will also meet with them to discuss how to succeed academically, develop educational goals, investigate majors, begin planning for careers, discuss graduate school, internships, and meeting graduation requirements. Faculty Mentors and Advisors also refer students to the many services available at Whittier College.

INTD 101, Your Whittier College Experience

Your Whittier College Experience is a seminar course for First-Year Students, promoting engaged learning across the campus. With a focus on Community, one of several core values of the Whittier College experience, students will participate in a series of workshops and activities that provide valuable exposure to the College’s many resources. An emphasis on College Study Skills, Career Preparation, Financial Aid Literacy, Introduction to Library Resources and Services, and Exploring Academic Majors are embedded into the curriculum of the course. Discussions about the Liberal Education and Whittier Scholars Programs, as well-academic advising conversations are also integrated into INTD 101, Your Whittier College Experience.

Associate Dean of First Year Programs and Academic Support

The Associate Dean of First Year Programs helps first-year students and faculty maneuver through the college system, gives advice, refers appropriate resources, and serves as an advocate. The office is located in the ground floor of the Bonnie Bell Wardman Library.