First Seminar is an important foundational academic experience in which all first-year students will participate during their first semester. First Seminars are small (17 students or fewer) interdisciplinary courses that promote active engagement and discussion, are writing intensive, and help students develop skills that promote critical thought and academic inquiry. Each First Seminar is led by a faculty member who also serves as the students' first-year advisor. Under this system, students receive guidance from professors who have observed their academic performance firsthand and with whom they interact frequently, inside and outside the classroom.
In addition to three hours of classroom time per week, First Seminar includes fourth-hour time that permits a range of additional experiences and activities, including visits to the scientific and cultural institutions of University Circle. Regardless of the regular meeting time of a student’s First Seminar, Fourth Hour will take place either Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 12:45 - 2 p.m.
First-Year students may not register for courses that take place during Fourth Hour (12:45 - 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) and will therefore have a temporary placeholder course (FSCC 850) that reserves this time slot on their schedule, as well as the four credit-hours associated with First Seminar. This course will be replaced with the actual First Seminar once the student’s schedule is finalized in August.
During the registration period (July 10-13) you will register for all of the courses you plan to take during the fall semester using SIS, except SAGES First Seminar. Because we want to make sure that students are placed into a First Seminar that matches with their interests and curiosities, registration for SAGES First Seminar is done differently. You should first enroll in courses using SIS, and then after doing so navigate to the New Student Checklist to access the SAGES First Seminar Placement item. The item will provide you with a link to a site that will generate for you a list of SAGES First Seminars that are available to you based on your enrollments in SIS (i.e. seminars that do not conflict with the rest of your schedule).
After carefully reviewing the list of seminars and their descriptions, you will indicate four seminars that you would be interested in taking this fall. After the registration period has closed and the Office of Undergraduate Studies has reviewed all students’ schedules, you will be enrolled in one of the four seminars in which you have indicated an interest. The seminar will appear on your schedule in SIS and replace the FSCC 850 placeholder.
With regard to the SAGES First Seminar selection process, please note the following:
- You can preview the list of available SAGES First Seminars and course descriptions in the Schedule of Classes by searching under the FSNA, FSSO, and FSSY “Course Subject” codes. Keep in mind that seminars will continue to be added in the weeks leading up to registration, so you may want to review the list again at a point in time closer to the opening of the registration period. Based on your interest in certain seminars, you may choose to arrange your schedule (if possible) to make a seminar available to you. However, note that this does not guarantee being enrolled in a specific First Seminar; it simply makes enrollment a possibility.
- Indicating your preferences for a SAGES First Seminar is a two-step process that begins with enrolling in courses other than First Seminar using SIS. The list of available seminars generated through the New Student Checklist is truncated based on your availability.
- You can revise your SAGES First Seminar selections any time during the registration period. Therefore, if you opt to make a change to your schedule in SIS after making your First Seminar selections, you will need to revise your First Seminar selections.
Because you are simply indicating preferences and not enrolling (and because this is not a first-come, first-served process), you should take your time and make intentional choices when indicating your preferences.
First Seminars that provide additional writing support
Students have the option to indicate a preference for a First Seminar with a particular focus on the writing process (FSCC 110). You should make this preference known as part of the preparation of the writing sample and reflection on the text you produced on the New Student Checklist. You will be enrolled in one of these First Seminars based upon the rest of your course schedule and do not need to go through the course selection described above.
International students will complete a writing sample after arriving on campus for New Student Orientation. After the review of your writing sample you will either 1) be enrolled into a section of First Seminar focused on academic English, designed specifically for non-native speakers of English who would benefit from additional preparation for the expectations of college-level writing or, 2) you will be prompted to select from the list of regular First Seminars. Because your First Seminar options will not be known until you've completed the writing sample, you do not need to go through the selection process described above.
Making the most of your First Seminar selections
As a general rule, students tend to perform better and are more engaged in courses that align with their interests, whether or not those interests are related to any particular major or program. Taking the time to carefully read the First Seminar course descriptions and identify those that stand out to you is a critical step in your future academic success. As you do this, consider the following:
- Your interest in and affinity for a First Seminar topic is much more important than the time of day that the seminar is offered. Choose seminars that "speak" to you regardless of the time of day.
- First Seminars are not necessarily designed to be connected to a specific academic major, minor, or program, so you do not need to find seminars that you feel are related to your intended major. Instead, they may provide a way to explore or extend a secondary interest or avocation.
- Varsity athletes should choose First Seminars that do not conflict with practice times.