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.

Students outdoors on campus

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 Engagements

First Engagements (FE) is a week long program to help you get acclimated to Transylvania. You will arrive a week before the rest of the student body to start your Transy career. You will have the opportunity to experience academic life inside a Transy classroom, as well as the social life outside the classroom. Your FE course is a 4-day class specially designed for your section. You will have the opportunity to have a unique academic experience based on the faculty member's area of expertise. Your FE professor will also serve as your first year advisor. They will help you pick out any remaining classes for your fall semester and will meet with you during the school year to discuss any issues or concerns you may have, as well as continue to help you in the registration process. In addition to being assigned a faculty advisor, you will also have a student Scholar that will guide you throughout FE term and your entire first semester. The Scholar is one of Transy's best students and will be an excellent role model for you to seek advice about all things Transy! In addition to the academic component to FE, you will also be given the opportunity to learn "need to know" information about everything from registration to residence life, including campus resources, academic and student services and more!

FE is your chance to understand and experience Transy before the rigors of a full semester begin.


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.

First Engagements Topics and Descriptions

Click on a topic to view the description.

  • Health and Nature
  • Policy in Society
  • Gardens and Society
  • Story and Memory
  • Engagement and Purpose in Life
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • The Architecture of College Life
  • On Life, Love, Passion
  • Modernity’s Impact on Our Health
  • Art Squared
  • Collecting and Culture
  • Global Civic Engagement
  • The Pedagogy of Care
  • Getting Crafty with AI
  • Bioethics
  • Art and Activism
  • Where is Everybody?
  • What Are Our Default Settings?
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Understanding Streaming Media