First-Year Experience
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Students holding balloons The First-Year Experience program is a way of referring to your first year of university life, both inside and outside of the classroom. At Rockford University, we realize that your first year at school is critical for building a strong foundation for success. For some, it can be one of life’s most challenging experiences. To assist you in making this experience a positive one, we have developed a program that consists of New Student Orientation, First-Year Seminar and Rhetoric.

New Student Orientation
"Making Connections” is the theme of orientation for new students. New students will meet with first-year advisors and orientation leaders during RC Mentor Connections to discuss issues related to beginning the university experience. You will discuss topics such as:
  • Adapting to a new environment and new people
  • Understanding what a liberal arts education is at Rockford University
  • Learning academic and social expectations
  • Learning what it means to be civically engaged
  • Having fun and making the most of your university experience
You will hear many great speakers, participate in group activities, discussions and social events that will help in your transition to Rockford University.

First-Year Advisors
The First-Year Advising Program pairs each student entering with fewer than 30 credit hours with a first-year advisor, a specially-trained faculty or academic staff member. Each advisor helps students formulate educational goals prior to starting classes at Rockford University and supports them in attaining those goals during that first year.

First-Year Seminar
As a component of the First-Year-Experience, the First-Year Seminar (CLWS 101) introduces students to the nature of a liberal arts education and to academic skills required for success at Rockford University. Small groups of students work with professors to read serious texts, to think critically about content and context, and to write and speak about this experience. You and your classmates will be challenged to see the connections between and among disciplines, as well as between education and life.

The First-Year Seminar is required of all students entering Rockford University with fewer than 20 credit hours. The seminar is offered in both fall and spring semesters.

First Year Seminar Fact Sheet

Rhetoric 101 is the first course in the lower-division rhetoric sequence. This course is an introduction to university-level writing. Students will develop critical thinking skills by responding to selected readings in a variety of assignments. Emphasis is on the writing process (pre-writing, drafting and revising), rhetorical concerns (audience, purpose, etc.), using technology to enhance the writing process, and basic grammar and mechanics. This course is required unless a student has an AP score of 4-5 or departmental approval of transfer credit. Students must complete this course with a grade of "C” or above.

Residence Life for First-Year Students
Living on campus can be one of the most formative experiences of your life. Resident students tell us they enjoy the independence and also learn practical skills that last a lifetime while developing lifelong friendships. Living on campus fosters a sense of community and allows you the opportunity to be fully engaged with your university experience.

While first-year students can choose from a variety of living options, Rockford University offers a housing option just for first-year students. This housing option not only affords you the opportunity to live with other first-year students who are going through similar experiences, it also provides programs and services that are geared to help new students transition into the university experience.

View more information about the First Year Program in the Academic Catalog

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