My First Year

Transitioning Into College

Welcome to Sonoma State University! Your first year in college is going to be one of the most exciting, and most challenging times of your life. Every incoming SSU student is given a unique opportunity to become involved in vibrant residential, academic, and extracurricular communities.

Freshman Learning Courses (FLC)

The Office of Academic Programs oversees the Freshman Learning Courses (FLCs). FLCs are academic classes that meet required General Education (GE) coursework and start first year students in the right direction on their academic path.

GE is defined as course requirements for the first two years of undergraduate study. General Education at SSU allows students to explore different academic areas; provides a good foundation for student’s major; provides a broad based education which is more marketable in the work world; and for undeclared students, GE courses may lead to a major and newfound interest. Almost all majors at SSU have a multitude of FLC options available for first time freshman. Although some of the FLCs align students with their major, many of the FLCs are not related to specific majors, but help students meet these General Education requirements.

We understand that most first year students come in with two central concerns: if they will find their niche and if they will be academically successful. Through participation in an FLC, first year students are given an opportunity to connect with SSU and one another while taking innovative and academically enriching classes.

FLC class sizes are intentionally kept small (approximately 25 students per section) to assist the faculty, staff and student leaders in each community in creating an active and engaging learning community. The cornerstone of each FLC is the Peer Mentors, our highly trained student leaders, who assist the faculty and first year students inside and outside the classroom.

There are many benefits to actively participating in an FLC:

  • guaranteed enrollment in popular General Education (GE)
  • the opportunity to create a relationship with faculty
  • academically engaging learning environments
  • personal relationships with current student leaders
  • intentional community building with other first time freshman
  • statistics show that students who participate in an FLC are academically and socially more successful than first-time freshmen who do not take an FLC

Although every FLC is unique in its subject or interest area, each community has six consistent goals that support degree completion and student satisfaction. The goals address the social and academic transitional challenges most freshmen face. In all FLCs students will:

  • understand different academic paths and disciplines; begin to discover their academic passion and how to pursue that passion
  • practice active and self-responsible learning; understand the differences between high school and college and what is necessary to be successful and actively engaged in college life
  • become familiar with campus resources designed to support student success
  • develop a strong connection to faculty, fellow students and university organizations
  • understand and appreciate ethnic and cultural diversity
  • participate meaningfully and ethically in their community

Enrolling in an FLC

Students enroll in their FLC during freshman Orientation. During freshman Orientation, students will learn more about FLC options and will receive advising about which FLCs best fit their intended major.