First Year Experience: What to Expect

Our incoming class of Nor’easters has many exciting “firsts” to look forward to: first roommates, first classes, first campus events, and so much more. For all our New Nor’easters out there, we have a dedicated First Year Experience (FYE) team to ensure your transition from high school to college is a smooth one. From programs and workshops to peer mentorship and academic support services, you’ll be well on your way to thriving as a first-year student with the support of FYE. 

Coordinator of UNE’s First Year Experience, Gracie Nilsson, chatted with us more about the importance of this team and what you can expect this upcoming year.

About First Year Experience

First Year Experience extends well beyond your time at orientation — it focuses on supporting you throughout your entire first year on campus. Gracie says, “We provide specialized experiences in residence halls for our incoming students, offer mentorship from upperclassmen students, and create events meant to connect students with each other, as well as the broader community.”

What makes this program so unique really comes down to the experience. Gracie reminds us that this is a time when “first year students start to understand themselves as young adults. They learn about living in community with other people, creating their own distinct identity, and exploring what adulthood might look like for them.” Exciting times, indeed!

First Year Experience Programs 

FYE programs and events (exclusively for first-year students!) are exciting ways to explore campus, meet new classmates, and learn something new. Gracie shared a few fun events that took place last year to give a sense of what you can look forward to: 

  • Course Registration Party: “Students joined us during class registration time for snacks, help with navigating the class registration software, and advice on selecting the right classes.”
  • Mocktails and Mozz Sticks: “We partnered with Residence Life and Student Resolutions to talk about drinking culture on college campuses. In addition to mozzarella sticks and mocktails, we had educational exercises and materials discussing the effects of alcohol use for college students.”
  • Marine Career Dinner: “This was a program for students in the Marine Living Learning Community (see more on Living Learning Communities below!). We partnered with Career Advising to host a number of local employers and alumni from the program to talk about Marine Sciences internships and employment opportunities.”

We look forward to seeing what’s on the schedule this year – stay tuned!

Living Learning Communities and Themed Living Communities

UNE offers two community living options for incoming students: Living Learning Communities (LLCs) and Themed Learning Communities (TLCs). Gracie explains the difference: “LLCs are related to a field of study, while TLCs center around a common interest area. In addition to moving in early for a specialized community orientation, each community has tailored programming throughout the year, their own community advisor, and mentorship opportunities from upperclassmen.”

Here’s a bit more information about this year’s living communities:

Living Learning Communities:

  • Health Professions Community: Designed for students enrolled in our health professions programs (Pre-Pharmacy; Dental Hygiene; Nursing; Applied Exercise Science; Athletic Training; Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies; Nutrition; Public Health; and Social Work). Students are given opportunities to fully explore their career path, receive additional support, and engage in a variety of experiential learning opportunities. 
  • Marine Learning Community: Intended for students majoring in Marine Sciences, Marine Affairs, or Marine Entrepreneurship. Students are given opportunities to deepen their program of study, take at least two common courses, and explore hands-on learning opportunities on our coastal campus. 

Living Learning Communities: 

  • Go Global Community: If you’re interested in traveling abroad, this community is for you! Surround yourself with globally-themed activities, programs, cultural experiences, service projects, and retreats. 
  • Lavender Community: This community is for students who identify as LGBTQIA+ or as allies of the community. Enjoy opportunities to explore identity, get connected on campus, and participate in specialized programs.
  • Recreation Nation Community: Whether you’re interested in outdoor recreation, intramural sports, or club sports, this community will connect you with others who share common interests.

Interested in learning more or applying to live in an LLC or TLC? Visit our website here or contact with any questions. 

Support Services

Another important component of First Year Experience involves student support services. As a first-year student, you can expect a range of support — from our Academic Advising Center that helps you explore your academic and career options, to our Student Academic Success Center that provides tutoring support for challenging courses. We encourage all first-year students to take advantage of these wonderful services.

Aside from these services, Gracie also offered a simple piece of advice: “Talk to your professors! I know going to office hours can be intimidating at times, but professors are here to help you learn and want to engage with students throughout the semester.”

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about First Year Experience, visit our website or watch our New Nor’easters virtual event recording. You may also want to double check your New Nor’easters checklist to make sure you have everything you need for the fall. We look forward to seeing you on campus soon!