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The Office of First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience program at Youngstown State University is designed to assist incoming students during their transition from high school to college, as well as students who may be transferring from a different university.

By discussing topics such as Sexual Violence / Alcohol Awareness, Career Planning, Financial Literacy, and the Common Intellectual Experience as well as participating in at least four campus activities, first-year students will begin to feel comfortable on campus and connect with the university.

Director of First-Year Experience

Dr. Karen Becker
3046 Jones Hall
Youngstown State University

Learning Goals and Outcomes:

Goal #1:

Students will participate in a culture of community.


1. Students will identify and participate in student organizations, academic support services, and co-curricular activities that fit their interests and goals

2. Students will establish working relationships with faculty, advisors, and student support services, including an understanding of The Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook

3. Students will evaluate issues of living in a diverse society

4. Students will engage in and reflect on a common, University-wide experience

Goal #2

Students will learn skills that promote academic and professional growth


1. Students will conduct an exploration and development of their academic interests and career pathways

2. Students will practice skills needed to manage their financial resources and situation

3. Students will practice skills needed to improve written communication and develop critical thinking

The Common Intellectual Experience: PenguinThink

The goal of PenguinThink is to involve incoming students with the campus and community through a mutual investigation of a common topic or theme which includes interdisciplinary collaboration and conference-style presentations for incoming students and also provides opportunity for colleges and programs to collaborate and share ideas with students across campus.

Career Planning

As set out by the General Education committee, students will undergo a career assessment and review the outcomes. All incoming students must complete a Career Planning module per Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) requirements. Career Services or college-specific career advisers must be involved in the process.

The objectives of this module are to:

  • Identify students’ interests, personality, and values
  • Recognize self-awareness
  • Explore career fields
  • Identify in-demand careers
  • Develop self-reflection skills

Financial Literacy: Transit

First-Year Experience (FYE) students will complete an online Financial Literacy component called Transit. Students will receive an email from the company with directions to start the online program.

The goals of Transit are to produce students who will be:

  • less likely to default on their student loans
  • less likely to draw down more money than needed on their current student loans
  • less likely to overspend or spend beyond their budget
  • more likely to pay their bills on time
  • more likely to check their credit score
  • more likely to know and understand the terms and features of their loans, credit cards and financial account
  • more likely to set a savings goal

Sexual Violence/ Alcohol Awareness: Think About It

The Campus SaVE Act requires that colleges and universities provide sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention training.

The objectives of this module are to:

  • Form healthy relationships
  • Prevent sexual violence
  • Understand "hooking up" and sex in college

Campus Activities

It is required that FYE students complete at least four campus activities, with at least one of the activities being outside of the specific college. This requirement varies by college, however.

Some examples of events students can attend are:

  • Sporting events
  • Plays and concerts
  • Student organizations
  • Internship Fairs
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Other events put on by different departments and organizations on campus