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What is a First Year Leader?

In 2003, Centenary College embarked on a very important initiative that has brought the college recognition in the world of peer mentoring and academic and emotional support for undergraduates. Our program is continuously developing and growing thanks to the efforts of the dedicated students who pride themselves on helping others.

First Year Leaders (FYLs) are an integral part of the First Year program. FYL’s are upper class students who have achieved academic success, demonstrated strong leadership abilities, and have gone through an intensive training process. They help bridge the gap between first-year students and administration/faculty by providing useful and necessary information within realistic contexts.

Essentially, First Year Leaders are student resources. They fill the roles of mentor, friend, and informative source for incoming students. Because First Year Leaders are also Centenary College students, they have personally had many of the same questions, concerns, and experiences in their process adjusting to life at Centenary.

Centenary College’s First Year Leader program is quite unique in the fact that our FYL’s are embedded into our AFC courses. Besides attending every section of their assigned AFC course, our First Year Leaders are busy planning two social programs/events a month for their classes. Additionally, the FYL’s are charged with the task of leading class at least once a month.

The First Year Leader program is one of the greatest assets Centenary College offers to our first-year students.

What is a First Year Leader and why are they so important to Centenary’s first-year students?

First Year Leaders are upper class students at Centenary College who were recognized because of their leadership qualities. They help bridge the gap between first-year students and administration/faculty by providing useful and necessary information within realistic contexts.

Essentially, First Year Leaders are student resources. They fill the roles of mentor, friend, and informative source for incoming students. Because First Year Leaders are also Centenary College students, they have personally had many of the same questions, concerns, problems, and experiences in their process adjusting to life at Centenary.

Each August, the FYLs go through an extensive training program that teaches them to provide emotional, information, and academic support for first-year students. They work full time during Orientation, and on a part time basis during the academic year.

What are the responsibilities of  the First Year Leaders?

The goal of the First Year Leader Program is simple: to help new students smoothly make the transition from high school to college. Therefore, their responsibilities include whatever is necessary to achieve this goal. On a formal basis, First Year Leaders are embedded in the Academic Foundations at Centenary Courses (AFC) where they assist the professor in whatever he/she may need. FYL’s are also available to tutor students in all AFC related course work and are responsible for coordinating social programs that promote team building and bonding. However, on an informal level, FYLs are available 24/7 to their students for whatever needs they have, whether it be emotional or academic. 

How is the program designed?

Centenary’s faculty and staff crafted the program after the best practices identified across college institutions throughout the country. However, the Centenary Program reflects our own values, particularly those that foster a respect for diversity, even in the way we learn, a commitment to collaborative learning, and a belief in service to others.

How can I become a First Year Leader?

To become a First Year Leader, you must be recommended by either a FYL or staff/faculty member on campus. Once an individual has been recommended, they will receive an application and begin attending a series of hiring processes. However, do not let needing to be recommended discourage you. If you are interested in becoming a First Year Leader, please contact Joshua Walker or mention your interest to one of your professors or FYLs.

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If you have any questions regarding the First Year Leader Program, please contact:

Caitlin Giordano
Director of First and Second Year Experiences
908-852-1400 x2833
giordanoc01@centenarycollege.edu