Your First Year

A Strategic First-Year Experience

We’ve created a comprehensive, innovative approach to the entire first year of learning. Each term has a distinct purpose and builds on the preceding term. The integrated four-part program gives you the foundation you need to complete your degree in four years and the analytical thinking and knowledge to fully explore who you are in the world.

The program begins with First Engagements, created to help ease your personal and academic transition to college and the demands of a liberal arts curriculum.  Learn more about all the components of your first year.

First-Year Seminar Program

During your first two terms at Transylvania, you'll take First-Year Seminar courses designed to prepare you for the type of academic work it will take to thrive at Transy. You'll read and discuss texts, get introduced to the Writing Center and research an argumentative essay on a topic of your choice. Learn more about the First-Year Seminar Program.

Transy Engagements

Transy Engagements helps first-year and transfer students get accustomed to exploring new ideas and participating in a variety of cultural activities while at Transy.

To encourage a variety of intellectual and cultural experiences, you'll attend at least 10 events of your choice during fall, winter and May terms. Those may include lectures, plays, films, art shows, concerts and community engagement activities. Students receive one-quarter credit for completing the Transy Engagements requirements.

Transy Engagements also presents opportunities for you to get involved in scholarly discussions with your peers and professors, outside of the pressures of graded courses. The goal is to help you develop a lifelong habit of participating in a community of inquiry.

Academic advising

Academic advisors can be valuable resources for you as you begin to clarify your life and career goals.

Your First Engagements professor will be your first academic advisor at Transylvania. They will help you become familiar with the curriculum and a Transylvania education means.

During First Engagements, you'll register for fall term courses after talking with your advisor. During the fall and winter terms they will continue to support you and meet with you regularly in group and individual sessions and by overseeing your participation in a series of six required events including:

  • The opening convocation
  • A presentation on Transylvania’s study abroad opportunities
  • An orientation to the library

First Engagements Topics and Descriptions

Click on a topic to view the description.

  • Enlightenment Revisited
  • Biodiversity in the City
  • Urban Design: Chaos, Order and Health
  • Gardens: Art, Literature, Sustainability, and Culture
  • Exploring Flatland
  • Dialogue, Debate, and "Divas" (Metaphorical, not Musical): Citizenship and Government in the 21st Century
  • Civil Liberties
  • Art Squared
  • Shark Tank Success: Taking a Business from Chaos to Order
  • Society and Equality
  • Human+technology
  • Community and Belonging
  • Ethnography and Storytelling in the Ancient World
  • Matter and Spirit: Ways of Knowing
  • Cyborgs
  • Is that true?
  • Doubt and Conviction: The ambiguity of what we think we know
  • From Eden to McDonald's: A Mini-History of Four Domesticated Plants
  • Brain/Machine
  • A Little Game Theory