The First Year Experience at The College of Idaho provides living and learning experiences that facilitate a successful transition to a college community centered on exacting scholarship and life-long learning. In keeping with the mission of the college, the program emphasizes frequent and meaningful interaction with faculty, staff, and student leaders. Focused on student learning, the program seeks to provide both the challenge and support necessary to foster student success in the first year and thus to enhance student engagement, satisfaction and persistence.
The First Year Experience consists of a number of elements:
New Student Orientation
New Student Orientation at the College of Idaho is a series of opportunities for new students to become acquainted with the college. All new freshman are required to participate in the new student orientation program (new transfer students are invited to attend, as well).
Orientation is primarily a two-part program: New students attend a Coyote Day in the spring or summer and participate in Fall Welcome Week just before the fall term begins.
New students who enroll in the winter or spring term participate in an orientation program that is coordinated by the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Admission, similar in structure to the Coyote Day.
Coyote Days are one-day sessions held during the Spring and Summer that give students and their parents the opportunity to meet other new students, meet faculty and staff, learn more about advising at the College of Idaho and the PEAK Curriculum. Students and their parents will leave Coyote Day knowing the next steps they will need to take to prepare to attend the College of Idaho.
Fall Welcome Week
Fall Welcome Week at The College of Idaho provides new students with opportunities - both on campus and in McCall - to engage with each other, with College of Idaho Faculty and Staff and with student leaders and to begin to forge what are likely, in many cases, to be life-long relationships. On-campus Fall Welcome Week events include activities relating to the First Year Theme and First Year Book, an Honor Code Dinner* and signing ceremony (see The College of Idaho Honor Code for more information), and meetings with First Year Advisors.
The McCall Wilderness Experience takes all first year students to scenic McCall, Idaho, where they can canoe, take part in a ropes course, play volleyball, hike, and enjoy the Idaho wilderness, all with the ultimate purpose of getting to know each other better. Students form strong community bonds in McCall and many students say that their best friends are ones forged during their McCall experience.
First Year Advising
First Year Advisors at The College of Idaho commit to promoting the academic success of first-year students and facilitating their integration into the intellectual life of the college by:
- helping students to comprehend the meaning of the liberal arts and to recognize how our PEAK curriculum furthers that tradition
- providing students with an opportunity to explore possible majors and transitioning students to departmental advisors
- helping students to effectively navigate the college’s registration process
- and providing students with information about campus resources and support services for academic, personal and financial issues that may arise while in college.
Incoming students meet their First Year Advisor during Fall Welcome Week.
First Year Seminar - Civilization Cohorts
During the fall semester, most first-year students are registered for a First Year Seminar and a course in World or Western Civilization. Seminars offer students the opportunity to engage in analytical reading, critical thinking and well-reasoned writing on the seminar topic. Students have the opportunity to choose the topic of their First Year Seminar, and the students in each Seminar are registered for the same Civilization course. Students are co-enrolled in this way to help create close relationships among a community of student learners, as well as to encourage out-of-class impromptu discussions and study groups.
First Year Living Communities & Mentors
The College of Idaho offers living communities especially designed for first-year students. By living with and amongst their peers, students have opportunities to develop strong bonds with other members of their class. And because many first-year students will also have classes together, they can form study groups with fellow residents from right down the hall.
In addition to an RA, first-year students are assigned a First Year Mentor. Mentors are upperclassmen who are trained to serve as a resource and help meet the unique needs of incoming students. Mentors provide programming on basic college skills including the following:
- Time management
- Effective study techniques
- Registering for classes
- Communicating with floormates
Mentors also assist with academic and advising questions and work to make the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible. See Residence Life for more information about First Year Living Communities.