First-Year Experience for McCormick Students

All freshmen within the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science are registered for a section of the First-Year Experience Seminar during the fall and winter quarters. The seminar is co-instructed by the student's Peer Adviser and a university faculty or staff member. 


The purpose of the First-Year Experience program is to help new students make a successful transition to Northwestern University, both academically and personally. This course aims to foster a sense of community, promote engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life of the University, articulate to students the expectations of the University, emphasize the importance of personal health, and help students continue to clarify their purpose, identity, and direction.

Course Details

The course meets once per week for 50 minutes during the fall and winter quarter, alternating between Peer Adviser Group-specific meetings and meetings with 100 McCormick freshmen in which your academic advisor will be present. The FYE Seminar is a zero-credit, pass/fail course.

Goals and Learning Outcomes

Foster Academic Success
As a result of this course, students will

  • Develop, apply, and adapt appropriate academic strategies to their courses and learning experiences.
  • Identify relevant academic policies, processes, and procedures related to advising, course planning, and major exploration.
  • Demonstrate how to effectively evaluate information sources and utilize University libraries, information systems, and other academic resources for academic inquiry.
  • Identify and apply strategies to effectively manage time and priorities.
  • Identify resources to assist in academic success including support from academic advisors, faculty and staff, utilizing professors' offices hours, tutoring resources, and more.

Help Students Discover and Connect with Northwestern University
As a result of this course, students will

  • Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement.
  • Develop and apply skills that contribute to building positive relationships with peers, staff, and faculty.
  • Discuss what it means to be part of the Northwestern community in context of the history, traditions, and culture of the University.

Prepare Students for Responsible Lives in a Diverse, Interconnected, and Changing World
As a result of this course, students will

  • Examine how their background and experiences impact their values and assumptions and explore the influences these have on their relationships with others.
  • Develop, adapt, and apply strategies to support overall wellness, including emotional, physical, and mental wellness.
  • Identify components of True Northwestern in ways that are applicable to their success, wellness, and development at the University and beyond.

Topics that could be included

  • Academic success
  • Campus inclusion and community
  • Campus involvement
  • Career exploration
  • Engagement with campus resources
  • Financial literacy
  • Learning skills and styles
  • Major exploration
  • Management of personal health
  • Multiculturalism/cultural diversity
  • Resilience and perseverance
  • Stress management
  • Study skills
  • Time management
  • Understanding campus culture (i.e. alcohol and other drugs, sexual health, campus safety)